Joy Luck Summary and Reaction

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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The Joy Luck Club is a story of four women who became friends over playing Mah-Jong on a weekly basis in San Francisco, their daughters, and the difficulties they experienced in a new land. The Joy Luck Club is a fascinating look into the lives of Chinese women - those who have immigrated to the United States, and Chinese- American women. Written as a collection of vignettes told in the first person, four mothers and their four daughters share memories of the joys and conflicts of their lives. It portrays the mothers' struggles in China and their acceptance in America, and the daughter's struggles of finding themselves as Chinese-Americans. The first vignette is told by the daughter of the club's founder who has been invited to join after her mother's death. Jing-mei Woo explains how the first club started in China and how it continues to the present. The stories, while separate, are woven together as we learn of subsequent deaths, divorces, and family reunions in later chapters.

Certain details in later vignettes relate back to events earlier in the book. The feelings that mothers have concerning their daughters, how daughters feel about their mothers, and the competition, love and resentment that takes place among various members of the group are skillfully revealed. One of the major conflicts between the mothers and their daughters is the desire of the young generation to become more Americanized. But as the second generation ages, they become more interested in retaining their unique Chinese heritage. Each woman or girl has a true nature and spirit that enables her to find unique ways to cope with life. These individual spirits are the basis of survival through hard times both emotional and physical. Many of the experiences that these Chinese women have throughout the book are...