Identity Comes From Within

By: Elizabeth Wessman

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

The parable “The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates,” is personally one of my favorites for many reasons. One reason is that I can relate to this parable extremely well is from times when I was a little girl. My mom would also say to me, "Do not ride your bicycle around the corner" (Tan 87). This parable shows the conflicts between a mother and her daughter that seems to be very common now a days. When we are little we think that we are always right, but in the end, our parents are always right as seen in this parable.

Woo Family

If I had to read another mother daughter pair, I would read the Woo family's. I would read Woo because Jing-Mei is supposed to replace her mother at the mah-jong table since she died. Jing-Mei hardly knows anything about her mother and is suddenly supposed to just replace her at a table and speak as if she knows everything about her mother. I want to read this mother daughter pair to find out what Jing-Mei finds out about her mother along the way of taking her place at the Joy Luck Club.

Favorite Quote

"I made a promise to myself: I would always remember my parents' wishes, but I would never forget myself"(Tan 58). Throughout this book, this specific quote stuck with me the whole way through. It spoke to me in a way that nothing has before. I interpreted this quote that Waverley would always remember how her parents asked her to be obedient in her marriage and do as she was told, but Waverley would never do something that made her forget herself. No matter what she would do, she would make sure that nothing caused her to forget who she was, or where she came from. I found this very touching, because we can forget who we are along the way, or when we become to involved in something, and sometimes we need to just step back and remember ourselves.


In "The Joy Luck Club," Amy Tan presents the idea that identity allows people to stay true to themselves while surrounded by a new culture. In this book, some of the daughters go off to a new place. Waverley Jong leaves her home town after she has grown up in order to get further in life. While she is in this new place, she always stays true to her own identity even though she is surrounded by a new culture. When Waverly was younger, she knew pretty much all of the Chinese ways until she was able to "walk out the door herself" and then she could only say select Chinese words (Tan 252). Even though Waverly forgot a lot of her Chinese ways as she got older, when she moved she still remembered the select few she had. Waverley mad a promise to herself that she would never forget where she came from, and that is very evident from the book. Waverley always stays true to her identity no matter where she is.