Mother’s Expectations for Daughters in “Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan

Updated November 13, 2021

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Mother’s Expectations for Daughters in “Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan essay

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Mothers often expect daughters to be the best, despite if the mother themselves made many mistakes when growing up. In Joy Luck Club written by Amy Tan both the beauties and atrocities of mother-daughter relationships are displayed. This story is about revelations daughters have when uncovering their mothers past. Realizing the experiences of the mothers are not much different from their own allows the daughters in Joy Luck Club to learn from the past mistakes of their mothers. This also provides the daughters with a new respect for their mothers who were able to overcome major life changing obstacles. Using the relationship between Waverly and Lindo, Amy Tan is trying to convey the message to reflect on the past and use the experiences of others to guide decisions of similar situations.

Waverly is introduced early on as a chess prodigy destined for success. For a large part of her life she was seen only for her successes, not as a kid. This constantly got to her since it made her think others only wanted for her abilities. Along with her immense intelligence comes her just as practiced snobbiness. Since she grew up as the star child, as an adult Waverly has a superior aura surrounding her. On page 117 her superiority over Jing-Mei can clearly be seen, ‘Listen, June, I don’t know how to tell you this. That stuff you wrote, well, the firm decided it was unacceptable.'(Tan, page 117).

Waverly dismisses all of Jing-Mei’s work solely for the reason that it was not up to her standards. Also, she bluntly says this in the middle of dinner, despite knowing it would embarrass Jing-Mei. However, to Waverly this is nothing new, she always points out others flaws while embellishing her successes. Along with this, Waverly is also very assertive and strives to be a leader. This trait can be seen with her marriage with Rich. In the marriage everything is equal between the two, and he is one of the few she believes actually sees who she truly is.

“And even if I recognized her strategy, her sneak attack, I was afraid that some unseen speck of truth would fly into my eye, blur what I was seeing and transform him from the divine man I thought he was into someone quite mundane, mortally wounded with tiresome habits and irritating imperfections.”(Tan, page 72). Her relationship with Rich also points out the compassion within her. With her past marriage with Marvin her mother was able to get inside her mind and twist what she thought about him. So, her worrying Lindo will come between yet another marriage shows how much she truly does love Rich. She fears losing him, proving her feelings are in fact very real. With Waverly, there are various layers behind her character which were largely shaped by her experiences growing up.

Lindo is Waverly’s mother, who often compares herself to the wind. Lindo can be both deceiving and strong at the same time. When younger, Lindo was forced into an arranged marriage to a man she hardly knew. However, with the help of her deceitful traits she was able to get her way out of it. “It was not like my first marriage, where everything was arranged. I had a choice. I could choose to marry your father, or I could choose not to marry him and go back to China.”(Tan, page 65). Lindo was very unhappy in her past marriage and wanted out of it in order to live an enjoyable life. She devised a clever plan in which displayed the servant as being impregnated by her arranged husband, which allowed for a divorce.

Lindo was then able to marry a man she truly wanted to spend her life with. Going through this was very eye-opening for Lindo and led to her ability to easily identify a bad marriage. She knows firsthand what both a failing marriage is like and the characteristics needed for a successful one. As a mother Lindo hopes her daughter will be able to find what true happiness is. Also, Lindo who lives in China then later moved to America hopes that Waverly will be able to maintain her Chinese heritage, but still have American circumstances. Lindo learned a variety of things with her marriages, which she hopes will help shape her daughter into a more successful lady.

Lindo and Waverly look so similar they could easily be mistaken as the same person. However, they rarely see eye to eye on things. Lindo has had very high hopes for her daughter, always expecting the very best out of her. In this relationship, Lindo plays the major role of authorizing Waverly’s actions. This has led to many clashes throughout their lives, since Waverly never feels like her mother accepts her decisions. A big misunderstanding in this relationship stems from Rich, “You don’t know my mother,’ I said. ‘She never thinks anybody is good enough for anything”(Tan, page 92). Waverly has convinced herself that Lindo will never consent to her marrying Rich. She is constantly afraid to even bring up the marriage even though she knows she will have to tell her mother eventually.

This idea comes from how Lindo reacted with Waverly’s last husband since Lindo saw all the flaws in the marriage, and pointed them out to Waverly. Waverly believes she is just not good enough for her mothers acceptance, but in reality her mother is really just looking out for her. Eventually, she does confront her mother about her marriage with Rich, and is very shocked when her mother does not condemn her, but is rather happy for her. This is the moment in which Waverly has the revelation that the reasoning behind her mother’s harsh ways is due to her mother wanting her to live a good life. Her mother was stuck in a situation where there was almost no hope for escape, so Lindo knows how awful life can be, and fears her daughter will be caught up in a circumstance similar to her own.

Overall, mothers are almost always looking out for their daughters. Within every daughter, a mother sees herself in them, and this causes them to do everything they can to protect them from life’s many dangers. In the relationship between Waverly and Lindo, the advantages of applying the ideas others have taken away from things is displayed. What others have experienced helps people to know how to handle similar situations. With this book, Amy Tan clearly displays the benefits of consulting others when in doubt of what to do.

Mother’s Expectations for Daughters in “Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan essay

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Mother’s Expectations for Daughters in “Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan. (2021, Nov 13). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/mothers-expectations-for-daughters-in-joy-luck-club-by-amy-tan/


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