Monday, May 18, 2009

The Joy Luck Club

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Category: Books
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Author: Amy Tan
You wouldn't probably say no if you were asked by someone whether for at least once in your life, you've disagreed, much more, disobeyed your mother's orders all because of the idea that she is a firm threat to your liberty and enjoyment. I mostly assume that you'd not.
If there are people who are worthy of being labelled as unsung heroes, our mothers have already earned the top all due to their unheard of sacrifices they do just to build another generation who, needless to say kept on insisting that they could stand on their own but later finds their way to their mother's sweet and comforting embrace once they can't boast their strengths no more.
This idea is the core of Amy Tan's richly woven narrative, chronicling mother-daughter relationships made distant by the inevitable cultural gap. The mothers once imagined a better life for their daughters away from the depressing condition brought about by World War II to a land which perhaps everybody looks upon as the best place to start a good and insured life.
Ignorant as they were of the cultural differences China and the United States has, they lost the hope of instilling unto their daughters the very essence of being Chinese, let alone the Chinese culture. These mothers all have a story to tell about the rich culture of their native land and how much they wanted to be freed from the bondage of the life they already have in the US.
The daughters, being honed under the American customs and norms thought about their mothers as a hindrance to their personal and professional growth because they believe that their mother's stereotyped beliefs and traditions are unfriendly and irrelevant to those of today's.
But these daughters are ignorant of how much they could learn from the stories of the life of their mothers and from the pieces of advice they give, which were all fished out from a bitter past.
The mothers wanted the best for their daughters but the problem is, the daughters try to move away from their mother's hold because they think they know already how to swim in the wilderness of the world they deal with. However, it is not the case, though. The daughters, when they could no longer hold on to the strength they try to muster, though sometimes unwilling, strive to seek for wisdom in their mother's guidance.
But what is saddening is when you can no longer seek for such guidance because it's already too late for your mother has already passed away. This was what Jing Mae Woo felt. She later found how much she had missed the times when she is at her best in telling you her utmost desires but turned a deaf ear to hear them.
The novel is entitled that way because after the mothers in the story met in the US, they decided to create a club called "Joy Luck Club" characterized by playing mahjong and eating sumptuous food prepared by the host, which gathers periodically. It is included in the first chapter the very reason why the Joy Luck Club came to arise. I guess, it's better that you read it yourself.
Written with a true heart and presented devoid of any vocabulary hindrances, The Joy Luck Club will surely make it to the classics.