Stories From Another Life

By: Anna Cimorelli


My favorite parable was "The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates" because it taught the lesson of listening to those who try to protect you from the perils that you cannot see. At the end of this parable, the mother told her daughter to not ride her bike, but the young girl went ahead, falling "before she even reached the corner" (Tan 87). A mother will try to prevent her child from getting into trouble, but sometimes the child chooses to not listen and ends up getting hurt.

Mother/Daughter Selection:

If I could choose again, I would pick the mother and daughter in the Woo Family. I want to read about this mother-daughter pair because it is interesting to learn about the communication barriers within the Woo Family and how they work around it in order to pass their stories from generation to generation. I also find the first chapter to be very important in explaining how the Joy Luck Club was formed around the idea of being hopeful during the miseries in China.


My favorite quotation is in the chapter "The Red Candle." In this chapter, Lindo Jong narrates how she first came to recognize her inner invisible strength. This strength gives Lindo the power to endure the hardships that a restrictive and patriarchal society forces upon her. When Lindo prepares for her arranged marriage to a man she does not love, knowing that to flee the marriage would be to go back on her parents’ promise to her husband’s family, she looks "in the mirror... [She] was strong. [She] was pure. [She] had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from [her]... underneath the scarf [she] still knew who [she] was. [She] made a promise to [herself]: [She] would always remember [her] parents’ wishes, but [she] would never forget [herself]" (Tan 58).

Thematic Paragraph:

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that finding ones own voice can be daunting and overwhelming while trying to have the confidence to express oneself when that person feels misunderstood. Since the beginning of Lindo Jong's arranged marriage, she has felt that she is misunderstood. When Lindo marries a man whom she does not love, she does not speak up for herself at first. She instead "stayed up all night crying about [her] marriage" (Tan 59). Lindo soon concocts a plan to get out of her miserable marriage. She then finds her genuine self after the marriage ends, restoring her confidence in self worth.