The Joy Luck Club

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The Joy Luck Club por Mind Map: The Joy Luck Club

1. St. Clair Family

1.1. Ying-Ying St. Clair: A member of the joy luck club. She used to be very confident with herself but after allowing her husband to practically do everything for her she became less confident. After she realizes that her daughter Lena has the same marriage problems she decides to confront her own problems to provide a good example to Lena.

1.2. Lena St. Clair: Daughter of Clifford and Ying-Ying. After she sees her mother's example of just letting Clifford control Ying-Ying, Lena follows in her footsteps by allowing her husband Harold to control her.

1.3. Clifford St. Clair: Father to Lena and husband to Ying-Ying. Due to the fact that his wife, Ying-Ying, Ould never speak English correctly and fluently he would often manipulate her words.

1.4. Ying-Ying's Amah: This is Ying-ying's nursemaid who she would consider to be her mother. She often would keep in mind all of the characteristics she was taught by her Amah. These taught her to be more feminine which did not help her at all.

1.5. Harold Livotny: Harold is Lena's husband. He always said they should split costs which often were very unfair.

2. "'This is not hope. Not reason. This is your life, what you must do'" (Tan, 70). This was when Rose was having problems with her marriage and her mother reminds her that is it her life and she has the right to choose her fate. This is just one occurrence of many instances where characters do something to help with controlling their fate. Like another example is when Lindo blows out the candle to avoid a marriage with someone she doesn't want. This overall symbolizes having hope towards the future after being able to control it.

3. Motifs

3.1. Control over Fate

3.2. Sacrifice

3.2.1. "And then my mother cut a piece of meat from her arm" (Tan, 21). This is when An-mei's mother puts a piece of her flesh in Popo's soup in order to hopefully "cure" Popo. Throughout the novel these sacrifices symbolize love and some mother-daughter bonds.

3.3. Sexism

3.3.1. "'Little sister, been a long time since I play with dolls,' he said, smiling benevolently" (Tan, 48). This is when Waverly wanted to play chess with some men she saw in the park but they didn't want to waste their time because they knew she would be 'bad' because she is a girl. Throughout the novel Tan uses these instances of sexism to represent the disrespect given to an individual due to their gender, and how even with these problems they are able to overcome it and take control of their live. The sexism symbolizes obstacles in the lives of these characters that can bring them down and often influence them to suffer certain things.

4. Symbols

4.1. Lindo's Candle

4.1.1. "I tipped my veiled head forward and I could see her hands unfolding a red silk scarf and holding up a red candle for everyone to see" (Tan, 28). The candle represents Chinese culture with marriage. When Lindo secretly blows out her husband's side of the candle a servant relights it. Not wanting to stay with her husband, Lindo tells her mother-in-law that the candle blew out on its own but a servant relit it. This ended the marriage and helped change Lindo's fate, and set her life on a different path.

4.2. Lena's Vase

4.2.1. "Off to the side is the black vase, the smooth cylinder broken in half, the frees strewn in a puddle of water" (Tan, 91). Lena's vase is a representation of her unstable marriage. In the novel she places a vase on an unstable table where it is at risk of falling apart just like her marriage. After Ying-Ying breaks the vase, she tells Lena that she should be more careful and start to care about herself, basically saying she should fix or leave her marriage.

4.3. Suyan's Pendant

4.3.1. "Five months ago, after a crab dinner celebrating Chinese New Year, my mother gave me life's importance a jade pendant on a gold chain" (Tan, 112). This pendant symbolizes the differences between Jing-men and her mother because they had very different styles but throughout the novel, even without Suyan's presence they get closer and more similar. After Suyan dies, the pendant represents her love and caring for her daughter. It also represents how she develops and begins understanding her mother's ways.

5. Themes

5.1. The challenges of controlling one's fate

5.1.1. Throughout the novel the characters go through obstacles of trying to achieve a fate that seemed impossible. Considering most characters felt as if they did not have control over their fate. When the mothers originally immigrated from China, this is one of the first steps taken in order to prove they can change and control their own fate. This aspires hope, and is passed down to their daughters. When the daughters get into relationships, some of the mothers realized that they did not set a good enough example because their children believed they could not reach a goal that made them happy. One instance is when An-mei tries telling Rose that she needs to take action in her marriage so she can make changes and take control.

5.2. The Strengths of a mother-daughter bond

5.2.1. Throughout the novel the symbolisms of the bonds created between the moms and daughters build up their characters. In certain points their bonds are their weaknesses due to past experiences or they could be the reason they are successful in the future. These bonds lead to sacrifices that are made for love, like when An-mei's mother cuts a piece of her flesh in order to "cure" Popo. These can symbolizes the extent they are going for their mothers because of that bond that makes them wanna make their mothers proud.

5.3. The power of storytelling

5.3.1. The novel itself is dived into different stories of all the Joy luck club members. These stories symbolize the way all of the mothers have learned to teach and pass down lessons to their children. All these stories and lessons told by the mothers reflect the characteristics of the daughters. For example when An-mei was not able to pass down good lessons to her daughter Rose which is identified when both mother and daughter have the same problem with their husbands by not being able to stick up for themselves. Further into the novel, An-mei realizes her lessons to Rose were no help, so in order to save Rose, she had to save herself first. All of the stories told by the mothers are lessons, like when June finds out the story of her twin sisters in China. She learns the importance of sacrificing for love.

6. Characters

6.1. Woo Family

6.1.1. Jing-mei Woo: Jing-mei or June, is Suyan's daughter. She is the newest member of the Joy luck club in place of her mother, after her mother passed away. When June was younger, she played piano until she got to a point where she no longer wanted to play. After this Suyan, gave up on her and let her quit piano. June had two sisters in China that her mother had to give up due to war. Years later, June found out who they were and members of the Joy luck club gave her money to go and visit them. She wants to tell them the story of Suyan, but she is very scared of not being able to portray it correctly.

6.1.2. Suyan Woo: Suyan is the mother of June and she was also the one to start the Joy Luck Club in order to inspire joy. When leaving China, which was destroyed by a war in her area, she had to leave behind her twin daughters, Chwun Yu and Chwun Hwa.

6.1.3. Canning Woo: Canning is Suyan's second husband and June's father. Suyan met Canning in a hospital after her flight from fleeing China. After Suyan passes away, he and Jing-mei go to find Suyan's twins.

6.1.4. Wang Chwun Yu and Wan Chwun Hwa: They are the twin daughters of Suyan. After being warned to flee, Suyan was forced to leave her daughters in China but at the end of the novel they are reunited with June and Canning and they learn their mother's story.

6.2. Jong Family

6.2.1. Lindo Jong: Lindo is a member of the joy luck club and also a mother to Waverly. With chess she teaches Waverly how to be strong. With all this Lindo is afraid that her and Waverly's Chinese identities are disappearing due to the American opportunities being given to them.

6.2.2. Waverly Jong: Waverly is Lindo's daughter. When she was younger she would play chess with the board her brother gave her. She always won games in chess and when she grew older she became an attorney. After telling her mother that she no longer wished to play chess, her mom grew a bit disappointed with everything she did. Waverly craved for approval from her mother, and now she wanted her to approve of her new white husband, Rich.

6.2.3. Tin Jong: Tin is Waverly's father and Lindo's second husband.

6.2.4. Vincent Jong: Vincent is Waverly's brother. When he won a chess board from a church party he gave it to Waverly which was the beginning of her love towards chess.

6.2.5. Winston Jong: Waverly's other brother, who died in a car crash when he was 16.

6.2.6. Huang Tyan-Yu: Tyan-Yu was Lindo's first husband. They were matched together in an arranged marriage by a matchmaker. Lindo didn't like the way Tyan-Yu made Lindo feel. She felt very unhappy in their relationship and she felt that he couldn't grow up no matter what.

6.2.7. Huang Taitai: Taitai was Tyan-Yu's mother and she taught Lindo how to become and obedient wife. In doing so, she would constantly humiliate Lindo and blame her for various things.

6.2.8. Marvin Chen: Marvin was Waverly's first husband but because Lindo would always point out his flaws, Lindo ended up divorcing him because the flaws were all she could notice now. He is also the father of Shoshana.

6.2.9. Shoshana Chen: The daughter of Marvin and Waverly. She teaches Waverly about motherly love.

6.2.10. Lindo's Mother: After putting Lindo with a matchmaker to get her arranged marriage fixed, Lindo's mother begins to teach her how to be a wife at a young age. She also treats her as if they aren't related just so Lindo's mother won't be hurt after she has to let Lindo go.

6.2.11. Rich Schields: Rich is Waverly's white finance and after Lindo disapproved of Waverly's first husband, Waverly seeks approval of Rich. Waverly fears that her mother will drive Rich away as well.

6.3. Hsu Family

6.3.1. An-mei Hsu: An-mei is a member of the joy luck club and a mother to Rose. She gets scars as a child when she accidentally pour a boiling pot on herself. Popo kicks of An-mei's mother out of the house thinking that An-mei was dead. With all of this An-mei learned lessons of coping with things and speaking up for herself but she failed to pass these teachings to her daughter Rose.

6.3.2. Rose Hsu: Rose is the daughter of An-mei and George. When marrying Ted, she falls into the thought that she cannot do anything on her own and Ted does all the decision making. When her marriage begins falling apart, An-mei tells her that she needs to stand up for herself.

6.3.3. Bing Hsu: Bing is the youngest of all of George and An-mei's children. When going to the beach, Bing drowns making Rose blame herself for his death. Having faith in God, An-mei wishes to believe she will find Bing, but sadly was never found.

6.3.4. George Hsu: Rose's father and An-mei's husband.

6.3.5. An-Mei's mother: An-Mei's mother was very depressed because she was very young and widowed. After getting kicked out for being a disappointment, she marries her fourth husband Wu Tsing. After Popo dies, An-mei goes to live with her mother but her mother is embarrassed for everything she has done so she commits suicide in order to avoid putting An-mei in any more shame. With doing so, An-mei is taught that sacrifices have to be made for one another's well being.

6.3.6. Popo: Popo is An-mei's grandmother who is very disappointed in An-mei's mother because she has married too many men in her life so she kicks her out leave Popo to take care of An-mei until she gets sick and dies.

6.3.7. Wu Tsing: An-mei's mother's fourth husband who is very wealthy. After An-mei's mother suicides, Wu Tsing fear she will haunt him so he spoils An-mei with wealth.

6.3.8. Syaudi: He was An-mei's mother and Wu Tsing's song but Wu's second wife took him in so An-mei didn't know about him for a long time.

6.3.9. Ted Jordan: Ted is Rose's husband who does not really appreciate her. After he divorces her, this is when Rose finally stands up for herself.

7. Chinese Culture and Traditions

7.1. The Wedding Candle

7.1.1. The red candle is used for newly weds, they put their names on both sides and light each side all night. If the candle stay lit all night it means success in the marriage. When Lindo does not feel confident with her marriage she decides to blow out her side of the candle. When a servant notices, the servant relights it. Knowing that the candle is a Chinese culture superstition, Lindo informs her mother-in-law that the candle blew out on its own making their marriage not seem successful. With believing in the culture, Lindo is able to trick them and has success in cancelling the marriage, and takes over controlling her fate.

7.2. Wanting success from children

7.2.1. In Chinese culture parents always expect success success from their children which is why throughout the novel some of the mother grow disappointed in their daughters because of their actions. The daughters even begin to believe that it is too much pressure on them. When Waverly is put into chess competitions she is expected to have great success which is why her mom wants her to keep practicing, but the pressure gets to her head and Waverly quits. Same thing with June, and playing the piano. Her mother wanted her to be successful so Suyan could brag about her, but she grew disappointed when June didn't want to play anymore.

7.3. Marriage

7.3.1. In Chinese culture, they believed it was a disgrace for people to marry too many times. This is the reason for why Popo kicks An-mei's mother out of her house. Popo felt ashamed because he widowed daughter was about to marry as a third concubine.

8. Metaphors and Similes

8.1. Simile

8.1.1. "All of us are like stair, one step after another, going up and down, but all are going the same way" (Tan, 121). This is when An-mei is realizing that her experience with her own mother is now repeating but with her daughter. The same stories are reoccurring but with the lessons being ignored. This is why she compares the situation to the stairs, because they go in the same way with no change which is what happening with her daughter.

8.2. Metaphor

8.2.1. "'It doesn't matter,' I say, and I start to pick up the broken glass shards. 'I knew it would happen'" (Tan, 91). This broken vase is a comparison to her broken marriage. The vase was placed on top of an unstable table to begin with, with compare the wobbly table to her unstable relationship. Thus, when the vase breaks it proves her relationship is broken.