Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club follows the lives of four pairs of Chinese-American mothers and daughters, and how they are trying to mend their broken and relationships, which are full of misunderstanding. The mothers attempt to pass down their experiences, wisdom and Chinese culture to their daughters, but the daughters do not want to understand their heritage and are more influenced by the American circumstances they grew up in. However, when some of the daughters are faced with marital and relationship issues, they draw wisdom from their mothers to help deal with the hardships in their lives..
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The daughters’ unstable romantic relationships help them fix and strengthen their relationships with their mothers by allowing them to understand their mothers, as well as their guidance and/or who they really are. Waverly and Lindo Jong have an extremely unbalanced relationship because they both misinterpret each other. Waverly thought of her mother as oppressive and almost manipulative and believes that she and Lindo are enemies in a figurative chess battle which she thinks up whereas Lindo believes Waverly is too American and that she does not appreciate her.
Waverly believes that her mother disapproves of her fiance, Rich, and thinks he is uncultured. When Waverly sees that Lindo accepts her and Rich’s engagement, Waverly begins to understand her mother’s true self and intentions, because she is able to see past the controlling and harsh image of her mother that she created. When Waverly goes to confront her mother and tell her about her marriage, she mentions a time when Lindo judged Rich’s looks, she says: I saw what I had been fighting for: It was for me, a scared child, who had run away a long time ago to what I had imagined was a safer place.
And hiding in this place, behind my invisible barriers, I knew what lay on the other side: Her side attacks. Her secret weapons. Her uncanny ability to find my weakest spots. But in the brief instant that I had peered over the barriers I could finally see what was really there: an old woman, a wok for her armor, a knitting needle for her sword, getting a little crabby as she waited patiently for her daughter to invite her in. (183-184) From confronting her mother, Waverly sees through her own assumptions and misconceptions about her mother and discovers who Lindo truly is rather than the distorted image of the monster that Waverly presumed her to be. Realizing who her mother really is leads to Waverly’s newfound comprehension that her mother is Chinese, but also American and that she doesn’t have any ill intentions. Waverly had only seen her mother’s Chinese ways and flaws rather than Lindo’s love for her, and, with this realization,
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