Behind the Doors
Hannah Vandermeer P.2
My favorite parable in The Joy Luck Club was "Queen Mother of the Western Skies". This short story explains the importance and dangers of losing one's innocence. When losing innocence and hope, one will not only be able to recognize evil, but it will exist within them. The grandmother learns from the baby "How to lose your innocence but not your hope" and to "How to laugh forever" (Tan 213). This quote represents a balanced mind that is not ignorant nor pessimistic. These qualities are essential for success in the current world where there is a vast amount of corruption and material importance. It provides a clear method of thinking that keeps a soul pure, joyous, and aware.
In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that parental sacrifices are essential for a child to have a promising future even though they are physically and emotionally painful. An example of this is when An-mei’s mother’s commits suicide. This should be seen not as an act of selfish desperation but as a selfless sacrifice for her daughter's future. Wu-Tsing is afraid of ghosts and will therefore treat An-Mei well in order to stay in her mother's good graces. An-mei’s mother knows that, and in death she can ensure her daughter’s status and comfort in the mansion better than she could when she was living. Before she dies she whispers to An-mei, "that she would rather kill her own weak spirit so she could give [An-mei] a stronger one" (Tan 240). In order for her daughter to have a privileged and promising life, An-mei's mother makes the ultimate painful sacrifice of death. An-mei will continue living in the mansion and will now be raised as an "honored child", which will not only ensure satisfaction, but also a respectable status that will lead to a respectable adulthood. Upbringings and past are permanent and important in the Chinese culture, and the sacrifices that parents make for their children in The Joy Luck Club expand the possibilities for a magnificent future.
My favorite quote from The Joy Luck Club is, "'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 you own tears'" (Tan 217). Many people cry over the smallest ordeals or just because they are overwhelmed when in reality it just stimulates more emotions. People say that every once in a while one needs a good sob, but why frown when you can just smile. Smiles produce happy emotions and spread joy while crying stimulates negativity and brings others down or sometimes satisfies them. This quote teaches that the tears created will not wash away problems so instead of crying, swallow the sorrow and solve the problem.
If I was going to read another mother daughter pair I would read the story about Ying Ying and Lena St. Clair. Their story has deep, insightful scenes and complicated relationships. For example, in "The Moon Lady" Ying Ying meets a face in the water that helps her realize she lost herself. From this moment on, she remembers who she is but at the same time is never the same again. In "The Voice From the Wall", Mrs. St. Clair is in a marriage where they speak different languages. Most marriages have communication issues but only due to stubbornness or passiveness, while the St. Clairs literally are not capable of speaking to each other leaving Lena's mother voiceless against the father. Communication barriers, identity issues, and lack of voice are everyday obstacles that can be difficult to overcome. These situations are not directly relatable but looking closer, one can find the true meanings and themes of these passages and apply them to their lives.