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The Joy Luck Club, a novel by Amy Tan, is a compilation from eight different women and their lives. The stories are based on their Chinese culture and their mother/daughter relationships. In the novel and in the film production, the women go through many obstacles in life and must overcome them in order to survive. In the end, these women demonstrate tenacity and confidence in themselves.

The four main mothers in the novel are shown to be excessively strict, and to put extreme pressure of expectations on their daughters. As the mothers raise their daughters, they are reminded of their childhood, and earlier days. They seem to have had some similar feelings of hoplessness when it came to their own mother’s expectations.

There is an immense emphasis on honor, obedience and loyalty. Another emphasis is competition, the mothers using their daughter’s acheivements to decipher who is a better mother. The daughters soon become exasperated with their mothers’ aggressiveness towards whatever hobby they are involved in, and give it up in spite of their mothers.

The daughters in the novel are American, this adding to their inability to relate to some of their mother’s Chinese beliefs and customs. The neglect to acknowledge the experiences of their mothers shows the problematic communication between daughter and mother. This lack of communication stemming from the continual suppressing of emotions demonstrated by all of the women; their inabilty to express their feelings.


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