Generations of the Chinese Spirit

The Joy Luck Club

Writing prompt #1

My favorite parable is The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates because of the lesson of mystical faith it reflects towards the other stories. Not only does it teach the lesson of faith, but also the lesson of listening to one's elders. The parable begins with an irrational excuse to why little girl cannot ride her bike outside, and because of this, she goes out anyway, but "fell before she even reached the corner" (Tan 87). The result clearly teaches the girl and the reader about respect for elders and faith in the mysterious.

Writing Prompt #2

If I were to read another mother and daughter pair, I would read the Woo family. The stories of Jing-mei and her mother Suyuan tell those of the struggle between Chinese and American culture and of deeper conflict between the mother and daughter's resented relationship. Another interesting story is Suyuan looking for her daughters that she had to leave in China. The deep, emotional, and conflicted feelings of long lost relatives is always a stimulating topic.

Writing Prompt #3

“Now you see,' said the turtle, drifting back into the pond, 'why it is useless to cry. Your tears do not wash away your sorrows. They feed someone else's joy. And that is why you must learn to swallow your own tears" (Tan 217).

This is my favorite quote because it teaches the theme of interior strength for one's greater good. The quote reflects the two conflicts taking place. The current problem is An-mei's daughter, Rose, ignoring her sadness about her divorce. The other conflict was when An-mei was a child and she couldn't help but be sad about her long lost mother returning. She learned to swallow her tears or else it'll feed someone else's happiness. The quote represents both the right and wrong way to deal with emotional problems. An-mei learned in her childhood that there were things she couldn't control, so she had to accept them. Rose's problem was that she was able to control her own destiny, but chose to swallow her own tears.

Thematic Paragraph

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that hope helps overcome obstacles and assists people who live through unresolved hardships. The theme is most clearly present in the chapter Half and Half. In the chapter, An-mei seems to have lost most of her spiritual faith, but still has some left, considering she cleans her bible everyday. Her faith is seemingly lost when her youngest son disappears in the ocean at the beach. She tried many spiritual techniques to have him return, but ultimately nothing worked. Years later, her daughter Rose finds An-mei's bible and opens it. In the section called "deaths," she saw that An-mei "wrote 'Bing Hsu' lightly, in erasable pencil" (Tan 131). Rose learns that An-mei still keeps her hope and faith even though it is little, yet it helps persevere her through life. Rose reflects this hope on her own dying marriage.