Generational Understanding

Jacob Besser

Thematic Paraghraph

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that presents the idea that your Fate is determined and some events can’t be stopped, but your will power to overcome and survive that event is determined by you. In the story Half and Half, "nengkan, ability to do anything he put his mind too" is discussed as a way to control fate and outcomes (Tan 121). Later in the story when Rose's brother Bing drowns, the idea of nengkan is present as the mother later goes back to the beach to pray and try to save him, but he is gone. Her ability to control that event and her fate wasn't present. She instead uses that ability to cope with the loss and keep her family from falling apart. Her fate wasn't controlled but her ability to move on and overcome that event was in her hands.

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Nengkan in Chinese

Parable: American Translation

American Translation shows how constantly reflecting everything can ruin everything you have. A mother helping her daughter set up a new home is displeased with the placement of a mirror,"You cannot put mirrors at the foot of the bed. All your marriage happiness will bounce back and turn the opposite way" (Tan 147). This quote discuss the way constantly analyzing something will point out all flaws and ruin the positive qualities that make it great. If she constants is staring at her marriage the smallest flaws will seem large and significant.

The Woo Family

I would've liked to read the Woo family. I think the struggle of Jing-mei in trying fill the shoes of her mother is a interesting story. Trying to hold her mother's place in the Joy Luck Club and in touch with her Chinese side, preserving her mother's stories. Her ability to appreciate the stories seems like the best example of what it means to be first generation american. Jing-mei represents the conservation and progression of a Chinese-American life.
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Mahjong the game they play in the Joy Luck Club

Favorite Quotation

In Half Half the Hsu family deals with the grief of Bing's death. In this grief the family begins to understand each other "But somehow when you lose something you love, faith takes over. you have to pay attention to what you lost" (Tan 131). This is my favorite quote because it is nice sentiment about losing a loved one and what it means to grief. Holding someone's life as memory is one of the best ways to honor them. No one wants to be forgotten. You can't control that they died, but you can control how their legacy lives on.
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Chinese Funeral tradition for commemorating someone's life