Reading Club: The Joy Luck Club 1

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Rainy:Jing Mei is seen to be the central character of The Joy Luck club, which is both the start and the end of the book. She is also a typical ethnic Chinese who has her Chinese mother. As a ethnic Chinese, Jing Mei has a strong generation gap with her Chinese mother. First, she thinks she’s completely a American, but her mother thought no matter where she was born, she is still a Chinese. So, when Jing Mei was young, her mother taught her to be a obedient daughter, but Jing Mei herself thought a daughter should not be her mothers’ slave. Because of her rebel, she acted against her mother’s expectations for many times. The most typical one was the event of piano. Jing Mei believed that the reason why her mother sent her to study piano was to get more chances to show off, so she didn’t follow her mother’s instruction and didn’t learn it very seriously. After her terrible expression on the “genius show“, she unfortunately lost all her chance to achieve her mother’s expectation, also, she has no chance to wholly understand her mother’s spirit until her mother’s death. After her mother’s death, Jing Mei didn’t feel any relieve from extricating from her mother’s control, instead, she felt such a strong disappointment and got a strong wish to understand her mother and look for her mother’s “shadow”. That’s why she joint the joy luck club and decided to look for her sisters in China.In my opinion, Jing Mei was a typical teenager when she was young. At that age, she thought her mother’s opinion was out-of-fashion but never tried to understand what her mother really expected her to do. She thought herself to be an American not a Chinese like her mother, but after a series events happened in Joy Luck Club, she found that she seems more and more like her mother. Something that her mother told her, which she used to think to be stupid and ridiculous also seem to appear in her own experience. Compare to Waverly, who also born in America but has a Chinese mother, JingMei and Waverly both tried to repel their mother, but in contrast to Waverly, who was a real genius in playing chess, Jing Mei doesn’t have any special ability but never try to make efforts when she was young, that’s a reason why she’s job was not as good as Waverly’s.

Molly:Actually, the relationship between Waverly and her mother Lindo is kind of alike the relationship between Suyuan and Jing-mei. Lindo is also very strict to Waverly and taught her how to use the power of “invisible strength”— of hiding one’s thoughts and of believing in one’s inner force. The “invisible strength” and Waverly’s intelligence defines her success at chess. After Waverly became the national champion, Lindo took great pride in her daughter and showed her daughter to many people. But Waverly was embarrassed by Lindo’s bragging and couldn’t stand her mother anymore, so they had a fight and Waverly thought her mother was her opponent in the game ever after this event. Waverly ends her story with the statement, “I closed my eyes and pondered my next move.”, which show the intensity between their relationship. I believe all of us had the experience of rebellion against our parents, and sometimes we think they just charge against us (like what Waverly thought) because their strictness and high requirements. Waverly even misunderstood her mother when she had grown up, the intensity between their relationship influenced Waverly’s life. Sometimes, we should try to think more on our parents perspective and try our best to understand them.

Roselita:The relationship between Rose and her mother An-Mei is not like that of jingmei’s and Waverly’s. They do not have very big conflicts. when Rose facing to marriage difficulties, she was more trust with her psychiatrist than her mother at first, beacuse she only thought about how to cure the pain that Ted gave her, instead of trying to control the situation.An-Mei told Rose the story of her mother , who killed herself to provide a better life for An-Mei, in order to help Rose to say something, to try to get the chance, instead of just cry. So finally, Rose start to understand what her mother was trying to show her, find her sprite and become a more independent woman.

Roselita:Talking about the marriage of Rose, there is another interesting aspect. During the story, Rose was influenced by traditional Chinese culture, which is the thought that women should be the assistants of their husbands, and they should let their husbands to make decisions. But her husband, who is an American, thought she didn’t take her responsibility, and that is the reason why he wanted to divorce with Rose. he thought a woman that is so weak that have little individual character worth little respect. he didn’t take Rose as big problem. So he force Rose to sign on the paper and thought it would be easy to drive Rose out of the house and start his new life. So when Rose acclaim she will own the house, he was so surprised.

Alvie:Lena and her husband is another example for the marriage between Chinese and American.

Lena married an American man called Harold, which was her boss. They proposed equality, so that they only pay for their own things but actually Lena’s husband always tried to let her to pay for him even though his wage was septuple to her. They rarely communicated with each other at home. Lena discovered the problem in their family, and knew that their family would be broken if they did not change the way they behaved. But she didn’t knew how to change that, and her husband Harold did not think there was anything wrong in their family.

In my opinion, their differences in thought was based on the different culture between China and America. Lena grown in America, but actually half of her character was from China, so that it was difficult for her to accept her husband’s point of view of marriage. In Chinese culture, man and wife is a unit, their behavior, their wage, their life include each other. But in America, man and wife are two individual person. They live together, be the wife or husband of each other but actually they are divided by their sense of independence. This culture conflict caused their marriage’s adversity.

Molly:Another interesting aspect in the book was the relationship between the mothers and their daughter’s foreign boyfriend or husband. Waverly’s fiancé Rich and Lindo is an great example. Because of the intensity relationship between Lindo and Waverly, Waverly was afraid to tell Lindo about Rich and she is gonna get married. Waverly already had an unsuccessful marriage and Lindo always criticized her with the marriage and other parts of her life, so Waverly thought that Lindo wouldn’t like Rich. Instead, she took Lindo to her apartment where full of Rich’s belongings, hoped Lindo could realize and say something, but Lindo didn’t say anything. After a few days, Waverly took Rich to the family dinner, but Lindo was embarrassed because Rich didn’t understand the manner at the table. The next day, when Waverly planned to tell Lindo the marriage plan, she saw her mother was sleeping innocently and powerlessly. She was moved and revealed her marriage plan to Lindo and discovered that Lindo actually like Rich. Lindo critics about her marriage only because she concerns Waverly’s well-being. Actually, all the things that Waverly did include regarding Lindo as a opponent in chess games and trying to hurt Lindo is all the heart battle of Waverly herself. But when Waverly was young, she believed her mother planned every move toward her. She didn’t realize her mother Lindo until Waverly spoke openly about Rich, that Lindo is happy to see her daughter get to know the happiness of marriage that was deprived from Lindo herself for such a long time in China.

Alvie:Yingying’s American husband always take something he thought only Americans could get to her, and wanted to let her surprise, but in fact, Yingying had already seen such things, but she needed to make herself seemed to be surprised, which made her feel boring. That showed their uncomprehending to each other, and the scrupulousness in their marriage.

编者按
由于期中考试,学生们比较忙碌,因此本期读书会姗姗来迟,让大家久等了。本期读书会由四名女生组成,谈论《喜福会》中的四对母女关系,婚姻观,美国二代移民的身份困惑等,希望大家喜欢。

《喜福会》是美国华裔女作家谭恩美著长篇小说。“喜福会”是移民美国的母亲们为打麻将而取的聚会名。

小说讲述19世纪50年代移民旧金山的四位中国女性的故事。移民美国的四位中国华裔,通过玩麻将认识了彼此,并一起建立了一个俱乐部“喜福会”,寄托了她们对美好生活的期许。

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