Dialectical Journals – Joy Luck Club


Dialectical Journals


The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan


Passages From TextPg. #Comments & Questions
  1. “My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America.”
132(C) America is known to be the “Land of the Free.” Many people travel to the country to live out their so-called “American Dream.” This situation goes the same for Suyuan Woo, Jing-Mei’s mother. She believes they can both be what they desire, to follow their choice of occupation, without any rejection. America is where their hopes lay after everything they have lost in China.
  1. “The film showed missionaries in Africa and India. These good souls worked with people whose legs were swollen to the size of tree trunks, whose numb limbs had become as twisted as jungle vines….”
153(C) Recently, we have all been aware of poverty going around in different countries, Specifically, in Africa and India. They both lack the basic human needs that are necessary to survive. Different countries are finding ways to help them, one being our country, America. In schools, communities, organizations, there have been different fundraisers. Just as in our school, where they are trying to build schools for the students in Africa.
  1. “Everything…the way we account for everything. What we share. What we don’t share. I’m so tired of it, adding things up, subtracting, making it come out even. I’m sick of it.”
164(R) Marriage isn’t necessarily about compromises. It is about solving problems together, not just making one person responsible for the actions. Also, having equally divided shares won’t help. The two people need to learn how to share because they are now in one combined life. Harold and Lena based their relationship on these circumstances, which in the end, broke their marriage.
  1. “…the marble end of table collapsed on top of its spindly black legs. Off to the side is the black vase, the smooth cylinder broken in half, the freesias strewn in a puddle of water.
165(E) From the start, Lena was aware that the table was wobbly and unstable. Therefore, it fell. I felt as the table symbolized their marriage. The fall of both occurred at the same time. They both didn’t have a strong base to build upon, and as a result, it collapsed. Lena saw this coming, and her mom asks, “Why didn’t you stop it?” In my opinion, it is because she thought she could restore what she was gradually losing.
  1. “I felt as if I had lost a battle, but one that I didn’t know I had been fighting.”
182(E) Waverly has been consistently arguing with her mother about several issues. She has been fighting for her opinion, but didn’t realize it. It happens so often, she doesn’t know what is really occurring, until she gives up. Once she gives up, she realizes she lost every thought she was entitled to.
  1. “I used to believe everything my mother said, even when I didn’t know what she meant.”
185(Q) Doesn’t every one as a child believe everything a grown-up says? We see them as superior and the know-it-all, that even though we don’t understand what they’re saying, we trust their words. Our innocence as a child entitles us to obey and respect our elderly.
  1. “The note was clipped to our divorce papers, along with a check for ten thousand dollars, signed in the same fountain-pen blue ink on the note. And instead of being grateful, I was hurt.”
190(E) Because Waverly believes everything her mother said, Waverly’s personal life as an adult was affected. Waverly and Ted’s marriage ended in a divorce. Both Waverly and Rose had their marriage break because of their mothers seeing bad signs, such as the rice bowl. Their words highly affected their daughter’s lives.
  1. “…I always notice other people wearing these same jade pendants…”
198(C) I can relate to seeing a handful of people wearing jade pendants. Some of my friends are Chinese, and they wear their jade pendants all the time. It is a precious stone that is sacred to their culture.
  1. “That’s the way Chinese mothers show they love their children, not through hugs and kisses, but with stern offerings of steamed dumplings, duck’s gizzards, and crab.”
202(Q) Why would love be shown like that? Love isn’t about possession, it’s about emotions. Why would mothers act that why? I would expect fathers to have stern love for their children, but instead it’s the opposite. This situation just comes to show the difference in our cultures and customs.
  1. “And I also began to cry again, that this was our fate, to live like two turtles seeing the watery world together from the bottom of the little pond.”
217(E) Mother and daughter were both weak. They were put their pain, while their relatives and acquaintances were in joy. Their lives were basically controlled by other people. They were given choices, but not full freedom.
  1.  “My mother did not dare take my brother. A son can never go to somebody else’s house to live. If he went, he would lose any hope for a future.”
219(Q) By leaving the son, doesn’t it affect him anyway? As a little boy, it hurts to see a parent leave; this would affect who he is and who he turns out to be. The pain he goes through can turn in to an emotional depression, affecting his choices in the future.
  1. “I saw Second Wife’s true nature.”
237(E) An-mei finally realizes the fake side of Second Wife. She pretends in front of the other concubines and manipulates them to do as she plans. She tricks them in to doing something that they think is beneficial for them, but really is something good for her. She is greedy, selfish, manipulative, and fake. She is just as fake as her pearl necklace.
  1.  “Finish your coffee….Don’t throw your blessings away.”
254(C) My parents say the same thing to me when I can’t finish my food. They tell me to finish it because it’s bad to throw away food. It is a blessing and not that many people are privileged to have the same thing. They tell to me think about the other people in poor countries, and how we are lucky we have all out desired needs.
  1. “…first in English: ‘Do not fight and air your dirty laundry in public.’ …Then she translated in Chinese: ‘You shouldn’t fight and do your laundry at the same time. If you win, your clothes will get dirty.’”
262(E) Women in China and America are both different in education. An-mei couldn’t translate the English fortune to Chinese correctly. Our language and dialogue in America is very different from those of China. We speak differently at times and have different expressions.
  1.  “…because after we see my father’s aunt in Guangzhou, we will catch a plane to Shanghai, where I will meet my two-half sisters for the first time.
268(CL) Jing-mei after all visits her sister. The half-sisters her mother conceived with her first husband and had to leave them because of a war. She took the letter sent earlier in consideration and traveled to China to meet her sisters, which her mother has longed to see. She is continuing on to her mother’s dream.



Last Updated on February 10, 2019