In beautiful prose and a richly detailed cultural tapestry of writing, Amy Tan discusses the lives of four Chinese women who escaped China in the 1940’s. In a prelude to her book, she writes a parable about a swan that a woman tried to bring into the United States after her…
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All that is left is a glimmer of the origins from where their values and ethics had held their foundation.
Through examining five different critical reviews, the substance of this novel will be analyzed for its rich ethnic content. The lives of the four women whose stories are highlighted enrich a story that is first of women, then of the cultural influences that created their personal stories. Their stories reveal the gap between themselves and their daughters, children who have grown up in a very different world than that from which their mothers came.
The Joy Luck Club, first published in 1989, represents a door that was open into American literature to female Asian writers by the 1976 publication of Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir, The Woman Warrior. The Joy Luck Club sold 275,000 hard-cover copies and widened the door for Asian female fiction so that within two years, four more Chinese American writers had books published that were selling very well (Cliffnotes, 2010). The initial setting of the book is within a social group called The Joy Luck Club, a group of four women who play mahjong. The book was made into a movie in 1993 starring an ensemble cast of some of the finest Asian actresses in Hollywood.
Gloria Shen (2009), in her critical review of The Joy Luck Club, discusses the theme of mother/daughter relationships within the novel. In examining the relationships between the women, she focuses on the narrative style, stating that the narration is not one story, but is divided into sixteen individual stories that are told from the point of view of those characters that each story represents. According to Shen, this narrative style is more conventionally associated with novels from the 19th and 20th centuries, giving the work a contemporary nostalgic style (p. 3). The exception to this point of view style is the story that is told about Suyuan Woo, who has died before the
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