The Joy Luck Club Mother Daughter Analysis
The Joy luck club describes the intrinsic nature of the relationship that exists between mothers and their daughters. The responsibility of nurturing and inspiring daughters falls on mothers. A mother plays the role of an anchor and a benchmark in which the daughter measures her own strengths and weaknesses. Mothers and daughters inspire, criticize, mentor, fight and comfort one another. Thesis statement: The relationship between a mother and daughter is natural to human instincts of love, perpetuation, preservation and protection. Therefore, a mother’s objective is to see her daughter succeed in life. A daughter wishes to live up to her mother’s expectations of her and surpass those expectations to become a better mother.
The definition of any relationship is dependent on each party’s knowledge of the other. The death of Suyuan, Jing-mei’s mother reveal of her long abandoned twin daughters. Jing-mei did not have knowledge of their existence. This brings about the question of the extent to which daughters have knowledge of their mothers. However, the death of Suyuan brings to attention the bond that exists between a mother and her daughter. Despite Suyuan’s separation from her twin daughters, her maternal instincts towards them never waned. Though, circumstances forced Suyuan to separate from her twin daughters, her responsibility as a mother inspires the desire to find them. Suyuan’s efforts to establish the Joy luck club plays a significant role in defining herself and her expectations towards her daughter. She believes that talent should be nurtured to blossom. Suyuan symbolizes an industrious woman who wishes to instill her beliefs in her daughter.
Mothers are bound by love to their daughters, and it is their wish to see them succeed. The Joy luck club illustrates mothers being ready to make significant sacrifices on behalf of their daughters. They fear for their daughter’s well being and safety. They make an effort to instill a sense of self responsibility and awareness in their daughters. Lindo Jong teaches her daughter about inner, invisible strength. Her experiences in loveless relationships with tyrannical husband and in-laws taught her to utilize her strengths when the opportunity presents itself. Mothers and daughters will sacrifice for one another should the occasion arise. Suyuan in her effort to provide for Jing-mei takes a cleaning job to offer her an opportunity to practice piano. The extent of sacrifice that a mother is suffering is illustrative of the selfless devotion that a mother has towards her child. An-mei’s mother sacrifices herself in the knowledge that her death will bring her daughter comfort and happiness in the future. An-mei’s mother capitalizes on her husband’s superstitions towards ghosts to ensure the security of her daughters well being.
The mother’s attempt at instilling cultural integrity in their daughters is constantly faced with resistance. The daughters are inclined to the western culture rather than Chinese culture. The conflicting cultural inclination between mothers and daughters cause a degree of conflicts in their relationships. The mothers feel that the daughters should embrace their Chinese culture to the extent that they are in control of their lives. The Chinese cultural practice of treating women as objects to be observed and not heard is not acceptable to the Joy luck club members. The mothers feel that their lives in China culminated to subservience, humiliation and oppression. Their feelings towards Chinese cultural practice towards women are of pain, oppression and abuse. They believe their daughters should marry in an environment of freedom of choice and expression. The daughters view their mothers as role models for extricating themselves from the clutches of cultural bondage. The actions of the parents significantly influence their children’s character in future. Therefore, the mothers attempt at finding balance between the American culture and Chinese culture in which to adopt for their daughters well being. The shunning of the Chinese culture by the daughters brings a cultural disparity between them and their mothers. This creates a communication barrier between them making it difficult to communicate with one another.
The mothers are defined by the choices they made in their youth. They do not wish to see their mistakes repeated by their daughters. The Chinese cultural practice of matching children to each other for future marriages led to unhappy and loveless marriages. The mother’s experiences in their marriages contribute to their opinion towards suitable marriages. Their desire to see their daughters in happy marriages brings their prejudices to the fore. The daughters, however, reserve their rights to practice their freedom of choice. For instance, Rose Hsu Jordan defies her mother and insists on marrying her husband. She finds herself in a voiceless marriage where her husband makes all the decisions and controls her actions. She presents herself as subservient, unhappy and inferior in her marriage. Her mother’s instincts and love for her daughter drive her to intervene. Her mother’s resolve towards her strengthens Rose’s resolve to fight for her rights. A mother’s opinion towards a daughter’s choices is significant in defining their existing relationship. Daughters seek their mother’s approval in their crucial endeavors. The approval or disapproval of a daughter’s choice is a mother’s prerogative; however, the response given may strengthen the relationship or create resentment. This is illustrated by Waverly who constantly projects her dislikes and fears onto her mother. Her misgivings as to her mother’s opinion towards her fiancé make her apprehensive and tense. However, she is reassured when she realizes her mother likes her fiancé.
The Joy luck club club significantly uses dialogue to illustrate the nature of the relationship that exists between mothers and daughters. The heritage of the mothers is passed on to their daughters through narrations of experiences and stories. The mothers use stories to circumvent the communication barrier that exists between their daughter’s familiar American language and their native Chinese language. The mothers tell stories aimed at educating, giving warnings against mistakes or giving lessons to specific and general issues. This method has been used by Ying Ying who is motivated to tell her life story in order to warn her daughter against fatalism and passivity. Her experiences under these vices motivate her to counsel her daughter from being a victim. The use of narrations is aimed at reminding the daughters of their cultural legacy and perpetuating their experiences to the future generations. Mothers used narrations to instill respect for their Chinese culture and traditions. The development of characters and forging of personal identities while gaining autonomy as mothers and daughters is attributable to narrations in the Joy luck club. Suyuan’s hope of finding her daughters and telling them her story is significant to their understanding her predicament and gaining their forgiveness. However, her death leaves this responsibility to her daughter who must confront her cultural shortcomings. Jing-mei’s meeting with her twin step sister’s climaxes with their reaction on learning their mother’s story.
The Joy luck club represents a forum where the women narrate their views, opinions, aspirations and challenges in their relationships. The social responsibility of a mother towards her daughter is brought to the fore in this forum. Relationships existing between mothers are significantly put across by the characters narrations, attitudes and responses to each other. A mother is always by her daughter’s side. She acts as a guide to her daughter through life, dispensing her wisdom and knowledge. Her desire is to see her daughter’s success and happiness. The cultural barriers inhibiting women’s freedoms and development are done away with by the daughters who embrace their adopted western culture. The Joy luck club identifies the challenges faced by Chinese mothers. The mothers attempt at inspiring their daughters into ideal modern women who embrace the merits of both the western and Chinese cultures.