A Motherly RoleThe Joy Luck Club Essay — страница 2

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Through the piano Jing-Mei carries the responsibility of not only her mother but the entire Woo family. Jing-Mei does not consider this as a privilege, but as an unwanted burden. I felt as though I had been sent to hell, was her remark after the suggestion of lessons (46). The daughter s opinions about lessons are not as enthusiastic as her mother s, but Jing-Mei must, as an act of a daughter, do as she is told. If Suyuan is successful in presenting her daughter as accomplished, then Jing-Mei will win favor from her mother s friends. If the mothers feel they must try to transcend Jing-Mei s accomplishment by suggesting their daughters to display their talent, like Suyuan did after hearing of Waverly, then Suyuan has met her goal. When a disappointing outcome of failure and

disgust is given, the emotional trauma is not an event easily forgotten. Often times the result ends in anger toward the mother and the feeling of rejection. Questions like these from Jing-Mei to her mother often arise, Why can t you love me? I m not a genius! I can t play the piano. And even if I could I wouldn t go on TV if you paid me a million dollars! (146). By the reaction of Jing-Mei two observations can be made; one, that she only feels love from her mother with accomplishment, and two, the difference in their thinking. China raised Suyuan, would want to make a spectacle of a talented daughter, while American raised Jing-Mei, even with such a notable ability, would be satisfied with herself without such an announcement. Through the relationship between Suyuan and her

daughter, Amy Tan clearly suggests Chinese mothers rely on success to establish status. Other s thoughts determine their statue, and the mother will go to extremes to be accepted in the high flown Chinese community. Unlike Suyuan and Jing-Mei of The Joy Luck Club, Winnie and Pearl of The Kitchen God s Wife, learn about each other s secrets; instead of tension and pressure as large factors in the relationship, love and understanding come into view. Through flashbacks of Winnie s life in China dealing with an abusive cold hearted, and womanizing husband, Pearl recognizes the strength and wisdom of her mother. And in my father s eyes, I had been perfect, his perfect Pearl, and not the irritation I always seemed to be with my mother (48). Never could it have been that Winnie did not

love Pearl. Because of Winnie s horrid past her possible over protection of Peal might have been mistaken as irritation . Maternal instinct drives Winnie to protect her daughter. So you see, I did not have a mother to tell me who to marry, who not to marry. Not like you. Although sometimes, even a mother cannot help her daughter, no matter what. If Pearl were to ever go through what her mother did, Winnie would not be able to forgive herself for allowing such a catastrophe to happen. That man considers himself first, you second, and maybe later you will be third or fourth, then never (134). She shares with Pearl after recognizing the familiarity with Wen Fu. As Winnie reveals the conclusion of her story and Pearl reveals her secret of her illness, the understanding between the

mother and daughter has reached its peak and all those around them are witnesses. And now you are closer, mother and daughter, I can already see this (524). Although adversity has filled Winnie s past, through her strength she is able to share it with her daughter and together they will continue to learn about one another. In what critics is her most unusual novel, Amy Tan presents a mother daughter relationship with the absence of the mother; perhaps it is because the mother is white, which is unique to The Hundred Secret Senses. Olivia is the daughter of a Caucasian mother and Chinese father, who dies early in her childhood. Olivia s mother spends much of her time dating men. Consequentially she feels neglect. And my mom usually put his wishes above anyone else s (10). Soon

Kwan, Olivia s half sister from China comes to America to live with them, and Kwan takes the place of her mother. With Kwan around my mother could float guiltlessly through her honeymoon phase with Bob. When my teacher called Mom to say I was running a fever, it was Kwan who showed up at the nurse s office to take me home. When I fell while roller-skating, Kwan bandaged my elbows. She braided my hair. She packed lunches for Kevin, Tommy, and me. She tried to teach me to sing Chinese nursery songs. She soothed me when I lost a tooth. She ran the wash cloth over my neck when I took my bath (12). To Olivia, no matter how much Kwan did for her and how little her own mother cared for her, Kwan cold never begin to substitute their mother. To Mom, Kwan was a handy baby-sitter, willing,