From East to West

By: Lucy Collins

"The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates"

I enjoyed reading this parable because I have a great respect for my mother and value her advice. I can relate to the story because I am guilty of sometimes thinking that what I say is right and what my mother says is wrong. As I go through life, I figure out that almost always my mother is the right one. Sometimes I don't understand why she either won't let me do something, or go somewhere, but she says what she says because she has learned from experience and knows the outcome before I even do. In the end, I always listen to my mother and take her advice because if I don't, I know that I will fall off of my bike "before [I reach] the corner" (Tan 87). I will always need my mom no matter how old I get.

If I could read another mother-daughter pair...

If I could read another mother-daughter pair, I would read the Jong stories. In my chapters, Waverly is seen as extremely arrogant and only likes to brag, whereas in the Jong stories, Waverly is portrayed in a completely different way. I only got to hear Jing-mei's version of Waverly's character, so I would enjoy hearing about Waverly and her family from their point of view. I feel as though Waverly would be seen in a completely different light, and I would better understand her character if I read the Jong chapters.

The Most Impatful Quote in this Novel

Throughout Joy Luck Club, the distance between the mother and daughter pairs is prominently shown. Jing-mei always feels distance from her mom, even when her mother is no longer around. She never feels like she can fully connect with her mom. At the end of the book, when Jing-mei finally meets her long lost sisters after many years of her mother's attempts to find them, they all feel a sense of connection that they have never experienced before. Jing-mei states, "although we don't speak, I know we all see it: Together we look like our mother. Her same eyes, her same mouth, open in surprise to see, at last, her long-cherished wish" (Tan 288). That is the last sentence in the book and is so triumphant in the novel because Jing-mei finally feels like she has connected with her mom for once in her life. She feels as though she has made her mother proud, and that is what Jing-mei wanted all her life.

The Theme of "The Joy Luck Club"

In the Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan develops the idea that strained communication leads to one not being able to find their own voice. When Jing-mei was little, her mother pushed her to be a prodigy or in her mind, the best person Jing-mei could be. Suyan continuously quizzed her to make her a child genius, cut Jing-mei's hair in order to make her look like Shirley Temple, and made Jing-mei take piano lessons, even though none of that mattered to Jing-mei. She stated, "and after seeing my mother's disappointed face once again, something inside of me began to die. I hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations... I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not" (Tan 134). Since Jing-mei never felt close to her mom, she never felt like she could tell her anything or when she would try to tell her something, her mother wouldn't listen. Jing-mei tried telling her mom that she didn't want to become a prodigy or a concert pianist one day; all she wanted to be was herself, yet her mother didn't listen. Jing-mei shouted, "'You want me to be something I'm not!' [she] sobbed. 'I'll never be the kind of daughter you want me to be!' 'Only two kinds of daughters,' she shouted in Chinese. 'Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!'" (Tan 142). Because of their lack of communication and the distance between them, Jing-mei never felt as though she could be herself and stand up for what she wanted without her mother being disappointed in her.