The Joy Luck Club

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The Joy Luck Club, a New York Times bestseller, had an array of stories all telling the struggles of Chinese-American life. The story starts off with the mention of the actual Joy Luck Club. Jing-Mei Woo, is asked by her father to take the place of her mother, Suyuan Woo, in this club, after her passing.

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Because of her passing, Jing-Mei, also known as June, recalls her mothers past experiences unlike the other moms. There are three other moms, each with their own daughter who also voice their life in the story; An-Mei Hsu, mother to Rose Hsu Jordan, Lindo Jong, mother to Waverly Jong, and Ying-ying St. Clair, mother to Lena St. Clair.

The only thing that connects these people, is the Joy Luck Club. A major conflict throughout all of these is the loss of culture when their parents immigrate. Rose looks back words her mom had once said: Back home, I thought about what she said [These] were words I had never thought about in English terms. I suppose the closest in meaning would be ?confused’ and ?dark fog.’ But really, the words mean much more than that. Maybe they can’t be easily translated because they refer to a sensation that only Chinese people have (Tan 210). The only solution for these girls were to start thinking about their parents and background before it was too late: She learned these things How not to show your own thoughts, to put your feelings behind your face so you can take advantage of hidden opportunitiesWhy Chinese thinking is best (Tan 289).

June Woo remembers the very beginning of her childhood when her mother insisted she could be a prodigy, just like her friend’s daughter Waverly. She was forced into piano lessons but soon realized her teacher was deaf, and she need not to practice. She had later embarrassed herself in front of everyone after thinking she could magically play it with no practice, ruining her self-esteem from a young age. Later she tells of how she has a failing career and has been evicted from her own home. Waverly, is eager to point this out at a dinner she looks back on. Her mother supportive though, tells her not to listen to her and that June still has much to accomplish. Years later, she tells of the story of her mother having to leave her home and her twin babies behind because of WW2. After years of searching, the daughters finally get a chance to right back, yet it is too late to meet their mother. Instead, they meet June and her father, finally accomplishing her mothers wish.

Waverly the supposed successful daughter, tells of her times as a prodigy. She says how she loved to play chess and won every match.

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