Family Dynamics

Calli Maroulis


My favorite parable is "The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates". I like it because it shows a very common truth. All children, especially at a young age, question their parents and it always seems that the parent is right, since they have great wisdom. This parable allows us to see this truth along with a tension between the mother and daughter. It shows the communication barrier between generations, in this case it's because of the language, but the difference of understandings and wisdom also cause a barrier for children and parents.

"You can not understand it. That is why you must listen to me" (Tan 87).

I also like this parable because it shows how mothers are very wise and usually right about things, and its just a funny reminder of that.

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The Chinese symbol for wisdom

Mother/Daughter Selection

I would want to read the Jong family if I had to read another mother and daughter pair. I think it's interesting how Lindo had an arranged marriage that she didn't want to be in, so she tricks the family into allowing her to leave the marriage, which is very smart. It is inspiring how Waverly ends up finding her true love and proves to her mom that Rich is good enough for her, so it all works out well. I like how Lindo and Waverly fight for themselves, unlike the St.Clair girls, and would want to read that aspect in The Joy Luck Club.

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The Chinese symbol for bravery.


"How can I leave this world without leaving her my spirit? So this is what I will do. I will gather my past and look. I will see a thing that has already happened. The pain that cut my spirit loose. I will hold that pain in my hand until it becomes hard and shiny... I will use this sharp pain to penetrate through my daughter's tough skin and cut her tiger spirit loose. She will fight me, because this is the nature of two tigers. But I will win and give her my spirit, because this is the way a mother loves her daughter" (Tan 252).

I like this quote a lot because it is a turning point for Ying Ying that I was really hoping for. She finally plans to help Lena out, and not just let her daughter make the same mistakes that she did. It showed bravery and strength in Ying Ying that we hadn't seen before. It was also very moving because it showed Ying Ying's deep love for Lena, and gave me hope for Lena and her marriage. I wish Amy Tan would've set this in an earlier chapter so we could see the results, but I was still glad that it happened.

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The Chinese sign of the Tiger, the animal of the St.Clair girls birth year.

Thematic Paragraph

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that an individual's voice can be overpowered when one loses their spirit, making it difficult to advocate for themselves. Both Ying Ying and Lena St. Clair show examples of this in The Joy Luck Club. When Ying Ying meets her husband, Clifford St. Clair, he immediately begins to speak and act for her. One night at dinner, Ying Ying is frustrated and babbling in Chinese and her husband "would put words in her mouth" saying stuff like " 'I think Mom is trying to say she's tired' " (Tan 106). While at first she cant speak english, it is more her broken spirit from her past that causes her to allow him to do everything for her. The further they are in their relationship, the worse it seems to get. There are so many things she could say, but her broken spirit just never does speak up. Once her husband dies, she slowly starts to speak up for herself, and wants her daughter to as well.