Amy Tan's novel, The Joy Luck Club, is a very exceptional piece of literature. What made this book so incomparable was five different criteria; cultural examination, relevance over time, a lesson taught, thick description, and multiple characters with one singular idea behind the novel. Amy Tan is unquestionably credible as an ethnic writer.
Adaption, change, holism, expressions, and how culture is used to survive... all cultural examination. Tan does a good job of this in the novel. Such as, "...In America, nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you. She learned these things, but I couldn't teach her about Chinese character ... How not to show your own thoughts, to put your feelings behind your face so you can take advantage of hidden opportunities... . Why Chinese thinking is best." In this quote Tan shows that American's and Chinese have very different ways of thinking. An exceptional form of cultural examination.
Relevance over time is how applicable something is to a given matter even after generations have past. Amy shows a sign of relevance over time here, "...And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant... . They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese..." Shown here was how Jing-mei perceives the mother-daughter gap from both sides, this double perception ultimately serves not to accentuate the gap, but to bridge it. Throughout the novel, Jing-mei provides the connecting voice between the generations. She tells both the story of an American-born daughter longing for independence and the story of her mother.
A moral is a message conveyed or lesson learned from a story or event. Tan illustrates this here, "I ... looked in the mirror.... I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind... . And then I draped the large embroidered red scarf over my face and covered these thoughts up. But underneath the scarf I still knew who I was. I made a promise to myself: I would always remember my parents' wishes, but I would never forget myself." In this quote, strength gives Lindo the power to endure the hardships that a restrictive and patriarchal society forces upon her.
Exposition, argumentation, and narration... all forms of thick description. The reader sees this in the novel in various places, one such is here, "Her wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into the darkness and dissolve. Her eyes looking back do not reflect anything. I think this to myself even though I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body..." This quotation comes from the beginning of Ying-ying St. Clair's second narrative, "Waiting Between the Trees." Seeing her daughter Lena in a painful marriage, Ying-ying resents her daughter's stubborn refusal to learn from her the Chinese ways of thinking, which Ying-ying regards as wiser than the American ways.
Many different characters, but one singular idea... mother daughter relationships. This criteria is shown all through the novel, and especially here, "A mother is best. A mother knows what is inside you," she said... . "A psyche-atricks will only make you hulihudu, make you see heimongmong." Back home, I thought about what she said... ." This quotation is from Rose Hsu Jordan's story "Without Wood." Rose and her mother An-mei sit in church and speak about Rose's visits to the psychiatrist. Challenging her daughter's adherence to what she feels is an odd Western convention, An-mei asks Rose why she feels she must tell a psychiatrist, a complete stranger, about her marital woes, when she refuses to confide in her mother about them. Linguistic barriers between Chinese and American cultures are especially prominent in this section of the novel, "American Translation."
The main idea of this novel is getting the reader to look at the characters lives in both their eyes, and the readers eyes. Creating an evaluation of life. The reason a person evaluates, is to improve what they do. Therefore, evaluating a book on different cultures though having the same problems, seems like an exceptional set-up for advancement.
While many think the Joy Luck Club is quite a wonderful novel, there are also many that believe the book, and Amy Tan are garbage. Some have even said the book is feminist and portrays negative Chinese male characters and stereotypes.
Amazing, outstanding, literary masterpiece... Amy Tan's the Joy Luck Club is and extravagant novel. Because the book hit home with so many readers, it was a top seller. Over 2,000,000 copies were sold, Tan received $1.23 million for the paperback rights, and it has been translated into seventeen languages--including Chinese.