The Joy Luck Club was conceived and written as a collection of short stories, but early reviewers erroneously began to call it a novel.
The book is composed of sixteen related stories narrated by three mothers and four daughters. Tan organizes The Joy Luck Club in terms of the contrast between generations—two sections in the voices of the Chinese-born mothers and two in the voices of their California-born daughters. It is narrated by two voices—three chapters by daughter Pearl and all others by mother Winnie Louie, who tells Pearl of her earlier life.
This is a book of revelations, illuminated vertically as well as horizontally, for things are never what they seem. When characters think they know the truth, they know only part of it. June, an aspiring child prodigy, takes piano lessons from a deaf teacher. Another family names its four sons Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Bing. Some of the dialogue is priceless: Their schoolmate, forced to marry a simpleminded man and chided by her unsympathetic mother, hanged herself in despair.
I could blame only other women who were more afraid than I. Praising Tan's storytelling abilities, commentators note that the chapters of The Joy Luck Club could stand on their own as short stories. Merle Rubin asserted, "Each story is a gem, complete in itself. Yet each is further enhanced by its relationship direct or indirect with the others.
Criticism leveled against Tan includes the implausibility of The Hundred Secret Senses , particularly the physical evidence of Kwan's previous life; and reviewers question the authenticity of Tan's descriptions of Chinese life in her novels, even though others cite her particularization of Chinese culture as one of her greatest talents.
Helen Yglesias stated that "it is through vivid minutiae that Tan more often exercises her particular charm. Elgy Gillespie stated, "Once again I found myself reading Amy Tan all night, unable to put the story down until I knew what happened in the end, sniffling when I got to the sad bits … and finally going to sleep at dawn with the conviction that Tan had provided an education for the heart.
Amy Tan's first novel, The Joy Luck Club , is a touching, funny, sad, insightful, and artfully constructed group portrait of four mother-daughter relationships that endure not only a generation gap, but the more unbridgeable gap between two cultures.
Suyuan finds three other Chinese immigrant women to play mah jongg, cook and consume special foods, tell stories, gossip, invest in stocks, and plan for joy and luck. In the years that follow, the club links the four families, enabling them to pool resources and keeping them in touch with their past as they take on the challenges of adjusting to a new country.
Nearly 40 years after the first meeting, as the novel opens, Suyuan Woo has died and her place at the mah jongg table is assumed by her year-old daughter, Jing-mei.
Like many another American-born child of immigrants, Jing-mei has little understanding of her mother's values or the world that shaped them, although recently, the general interest in ethnicity has prompted her to revive her Chinese name, "Jing-mei," in preference to the American "June May," and has made her more curious about her roots.
Clair offer Jing-mei a trip to China to meet her long-lost half sisters, whom Suyuan was forced to abandon as infants while fleeing war-torn Guilin, the "aunties" now edging into their 70s urge Jing-mei to tell her half sisters the story of the With clarity of voice and lucidity of vision, Amy Tan's delightful first novel, The Joy Luck Club , reveals to us that for all life's contradictions and tragedies, the true path of existence is convergence.
This is a hard faith to hold when modern life seems so cacophonous, so divisive. But it is key for immigrants to this country who must try to adjust to the new world without being swallowed up by it, who must raise children whose first impulse Within the peculiar construction of Amy Tan's second novel is a harrowing, compelling and at times bitterly humorous tale in which an entire world unfolds in a Tolstoyan tide of event and detail.
No doubt it was daunting to attempt a second book in the wake of the enormous success of The Joy Luck Club , but none of Ms. Tan's fans will be disappointed. The Kitchen God's Wife is a more ambitious Granted, she has her reasons. When Amy Tan wrote amusingly and tellingly about "Angst and the Second Novel" in a recent Publishers Weekly , she was so sympatico about the frightening game of fiction that it seemed unfair to those who usually call the shots around here: In essence, our Amy defanged all her potential critics, silencing A few years ago she joined a Writers' Circle, which told her, as Writers' Circles always do, to write what she had seen herself.
She wrote about what she had seen herself and what she hadn't—her own experience and her mother's. She produced a long, complex and seductive narrative, The Joy Luck Club , which was one of the best-sellers of Amy Tan is an immensely popular writer.
Her first novel, The Joy Luck Club , was a knockout success, and her second is well on its way to equal, if not surpass, it. The readers who loved the first will surely love the second, since both tell the same story—and this time around Tan has executed the work better in conception, in design, in detail and in sheer pleasure for the reader. We used a similar routine just five days ago, for a situation that was far less humorous. My mother had gone to the hospital for an appointment, to find out about a benign brain tumor a CAT scan had revealed a month ago.
She said she had spoken very good English, her best English, no mistakes. Still, she said, the hospital did not apologize when they said they had lost the CAT scan and she had come for nothing. She said they did not seem to have any sympathy when she told them she was anxious to know the exact diagnosis, since her husband and son had both died of brain tumors. She said they would not give her any more information until the next time and she would have to make another appointment for that.
So she said she would not leave until the doctor called her daughter. And when the doctor finally called her daughter, me, who spoke in perfect English -- lo and behold -- we had assurances the CAT scan would be found, promises that a conference call on Monday would be held, and apologies for any suffering my mother had gone through for a most regrettable mistake.
I think my mother's English almost had an effect on limiting my possibilities in life as well. Sociologists and linguists probably will tell you that a person's developing language skills are more influenced by peers. But I do think that the language spoken in the family, especially in immigrant families which are more insular, plays a large role in shaping the language of the child.
And I believe that it affected my results on achievement tests, I. While my English skills were never judged as poor, compared to math, English could not be considered my strong suit. In grade school I did moderately well, getting perhaps B's, sometimes B-pluses, in English and scoring perhaps in the sixtieth or seventieth percentile on achievement tests. But those scores were not good enough to override the opinion that my true abilities lay in math and science, because in those areas I achieved A's and scored in the ninetieth percentile or higher.
Math is precise; there is only one correct answer. Whereas, for me at least, the answers on English tests were always a judgment call, a matter of opinion and personal experience. Those tests were constructed around items like fill-in-the-blank sentence completion, such as, "Even though Tom was, Mary thought he was So I never did well on tests like that.
The same was true with word analogies, pairs of words in which you were supposed to find some sort of logical, semantic relationship -- for example, "Sunset is to nightfall as is to. Well, I could never think that way. I knew what the tests were asking, but I could not block out of my mind the images already created by the first pair, "sunset is to nightfall"--and I would see a burst of colors against a darkening sky, the moon rising, the lowering of a curtain of stars.
And all the other pairs of words --red, bus, stoplight, boring--just threw up a mass of confusing images, making it impossible for me to sort out something as logical as saying: I have been thinking about all this lately, about my mother's English, about achievement tests. Because lately I've been asked, as a writer, why there are not more Asian Americans represented in American literature. Why are there few Asian Americans enrolled in creative writing programs?
Why do so many Chinese students go into engineering! Well, these are broad sociological questions I can't begin to answer. But I have noticed in surveys -- in fact, just last week -- that Asian students, as a whole, always do significantly better on math achievement tests than in English. And this makes me think that there are other Asian-American students whose English spoken in the home might also be described as "broken" or "limited.
Fortunately, I happen to be rebellious in nature and enjoy the challenge of disproving assumptions made about me. I became an English major my first year in college, after being enrolled as pre-med.
I started writing nonfiction as a freelancer the week after I was told by my former boss that writing was my worst skill and I should hone my talents toward account management. But it wasn't until that I finally began to write fiction. And at first I wrote using what I thought to be wittily crafted sentences, sentences that would finally prove I had mastery over the English language.
Here's an example from the first draft of a story that later made its way into The Joy Luck Club, but without this line: Fortunately, for reasons I won't get into today, I later decided I should envision a reader for the stories I would write.
Free Essay: Amy Tan’s A Mother’s Tongue The purpose of Amy Tan’s essay, “Mother Tongue,” is to show how challenging it can be if an individual is raised by a.
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Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan - mother tounge Author: Heather Simon Created Date: 8/1/ PM. Essays and criticism on Amy Tan - Critical Essays.
Amy Tans A Pair Of Tickets English Literature Essay. Print Reference this. Published: 23rd March, Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. Amy Tan makes it very clear that the Protagonist in her story was completely westernized. She was born. Free Essay: Amy Tan's Story Mother Tongue A good portion of Americans today speak English as their first language. However, what makes us different is that.