Joy Luck Club
;The Joy Luck Club explores the different mother-daughter relationships between the characters, and at a lower level, relationships between friends, lovers, and even enemies. This movie presents the conflicting views and the stories of both sides, providing the viewer--and ultimately, the characters--with an understanding of the mentalities of both mother and daughter, and why each one is the way she is. The two main themes of the story I will be discussing are the challenges of cultural translation and how story telling can help and influence communication and self assertion.
The Challenges of Cultural Translation - Throughout The Joy Luck Club, the various narrators meditate on their inability to translate concepts and sentiments from one culture to another. The incomplete cultural understanding of both the mothers and the daughters owes to their incomplete knowledge of language. Additionally, the barriers that exist between the mothers and the daughters are often due to their inability to communicate with one another.
Although the daughters know some Chinese words and the mothers speak some English, communication often becomes a matter of translation, of words whose intended meaning and accepted meaning are in fact quite separate, leading to subtle misunderstandings.
The first mention of this difficulty with translation occurs when Jing-mei relates the story of her mother's founding of the Joy Luck Club. After attempting to explain the significance of the club's name, Jing-mei recognizes that the concept is not something that can be translated. She points out that the daughters think their mothers are stupid because of their fractured English, while the mothers are impatient with their daughters who don't understand the cultural nuances of their language and who do not intend to pass along their Chinese heritage to their own children. Throughout the movie, characters bring...