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Chinese Culture Vs. American Culture In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

733 words - 3 pages

Chinese Culture vs. American Culture in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

An author's cultural background can play a large part in the authors writing. Amy Tan, a Chinese-American woman, uses the cultural values of Chinese women in American culture in her novel, The Joy Luck Club. These cultural values shape the outcome of The Joy Luck Club. The two cultural value systems create conflict between the characters.

In The Joy Luck Club, the chapter "Waiting Between the Trees" illustrates major concerns facing Chinese-American women. Chinese culture is a male dominated culture that leaves women little freedom. Their only job is to make their male spouses content. Living with their traditional ...view middle of the document...

After her second son, which was her third child, died at birth, Ying-Ying had a mental breakdown. She saw his death as a punishment for the murdering her first son.

Ying-Ying became passive and lifeless after her second son died. She kept the fact that she felt responsible for her second sons death a secret from her husband and daughter, Lena. As shown in this example, Ying-Ying had Chinese cultural values in an American society. This produces the conflict between cultures. Ying-Ying becomes so passive that she lets her husband make all of her decisions for her.

Lena St.Clair, on the other hand, was born in America and lives like an American girl. "But when she was born, she sprang from me like a slippery fish, and had been swimming away ever since," Ying-Ying said (Tan, The Joy Luck Club 274). Lena knew that her mother kept a secret from her and her father. She saw her mother as a weak-minded woman who needed help. She learned American ways and thought of herself as "more suitable" to American life than her mother. The difference in cultural values between mother and daughter of a first...

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