Chinese at Heart

Grayson Willis

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

I especially loved the parable "Twenty-Six Malignant" Gates in The Joy Luck Club because it reinforced the theme of communication throughout the novel. I feel like it is easy to relate to the mother and daughter relationship in this parable because it expresses the difficulties in communication between their personality and age. "Twenty Six Malignant Gates" also shows the importance of wisdom when the daughter says "you don't know anything" to her mother (Tan 87). This lesson that her mother does indeed posses great wisdom is learned through great hardship.

Hsu Family

If I had the opportunity to read another mother daughter story in The Joy Luck Club I would choose the Hsu family. I feel it has an interesting story line and teaches the lesson that the most important thing is to listen to your mother. I believe it is a message that can be valued and is something I am interested reading more about. For example, the daughter says that "you must stand tall and listen to your mother standing next to you" (Tan 191). I would enjoy further details about their story along these lines.
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Lindo Jong Quote

Throughout the novel my favorite quote was said by Lindo Jong around the time of her wedding. She says "I made a promise to myself: I would always remember my parents' wishes, but I would never forget myself" (Tan 45). I especially love this quote because this is truly when Lindo Jong discovers herself. She decides that she doesn't need to give up her inner identity even though her new family has tried hard to make her give up her own sense of self.
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In the Joy Luck Club , Amy Tan presents the idea that culture is an essential part of a person's identity, though it may contradict their environment. Throughout the novel, Lindo Jong has the lack of ability to reconcile her Chinese culture with her American surroundings. She had the desire for her daughter "to have the best combination between American circumstances and Chinese culture," though avoiding losing sight of her own original identity. (Tan 251). For example, when Waverly speaks too wishfully about blending in too well in China, she becomes angry because of Lindo's comment that she will be instantly recognized as a tourist. Continuing through the story, Lindo wonders whether her "true" self is not her american one. They experience the struggle between honoring their Chinese culture while maintaining a new american identity.