The Joy Luck Club. An Essay Comparing And Contrasting The Differences Of American And Chinese Culture Through The Book By Amy Tan

1636 words - 7 pages

The Joy Luck Club"I wanted my children to have the best combination: American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I know these two things do not mix?"(Pg 289) Living in a cultural mish mash, it is very common to meet someone who will introduce themselves as a something - Canadian. In the book, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, she writes about a group of four Chinese families who immigrate to the States, taking advantage of "The Better Life". As said by Jing-Mei, "My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America." (Pg 141), her mother was not the only one who thought this. Exploring the cultural differences of China and the USA, Tan creates an accurate account of ...view middle of the document...

In Chinese we say, Come from South, blow with wind- poom!- North will follow. Strongest wind cannot be seen." They were always strangely cryptic but you could tell from the sound of it that it was very wise, so for the longest time I believed that the reason we lived in the South was because we were in a race with my best friend who lived near downtown. Throughout the book, there was so much advice given and, like with my relatives, it always seemed so mystical. The characters, and I, never questioned the advice, regardless of the lack of support. What stopped us wasn't the fear of the wrath of our grandparents for disbelief (although that was a small portion), it was the fact there was something so old and true behind it all. It's not something that can be explained very well, it was just something that I could feel as I grew up. All the advice that I received all had very good reasoning behind it, it all came from logic... but it was more than logic all at the same time.The thought that America was a place of dreams was what drove people to the States, "In America, you cannot say you want to stay there forever... You must say you want to be a scholar and come back to teach Chinese people what you have learned." (Pg 294) And when they got to America, many felt as if they must prove themselves better as well as keep their "Chinese face" (Pg 294). The expectations are so much higher in Asian families, particularly in Chinese ones. I think that part of this comes from the fact that China was considered a backwards country for a long time and are now proving themselves worth investors' money and international recognition, as well as trying to show their worth in America. Everyone grows up knowing that they should try their very best in everything they do. I grew up knowing that I had to be the best at everything I did, close was not acceptable. In the story, Waverly started playing chess and she became extremely good at it. Her mother kept hounding her about her game, even if she won, her mother always found something to criticize. "Ma, it's not how many pieces you lose... Better to lose less, see if you really need." (Pg 98) The stress to be the best was always there for me as a child. When I was young, I was pretty smart. I don't brag or anything, but I was above the average intelligence of someone else my age. My grandparents always stressed for me to work on my multiplication tables, to learn how to read books 3 years above my level, to unearth some secret talent of mine. Sure, I was smart, but not the smartest in the class. I never understood why, as a second grader, I had to spend an hour longer on homework than all my friends, but I never questioned as it was "good for me". Like Waverly's mother, my grandma always watched over my shoulder while I did homework, "My mother had a habit of standing over my while I plotted out my games." (Pg 100) And when you have something that amazing, you can hardly keep it back, and if you are also trying to...

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