A View on the Culture in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Last Updated: 24 Apr 2023
Pages: 3 Views: 22

Many cultures follow the preachings of Confucius, Filial Piety, the important virtue and primary duty of respect obedience, and care for one's parents and elderly family members, is used, even today, by many backgrounds. One well-known family in “Two Kinds” and an excerpt from the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan use the same basic functions of filial piety. A daughter, Jing-Mei is given impossible orders by her mother and is expected to show devotion to her mother‘s wishes and obey them. By attempting to meet her mother’s impractical requirements, she feels that she is losing herself and rebels, attempting to escape her mental maze. Because she rebels against her mother's unrealistic commands she feels that she will never be forgiven, Twenty-one years later she receives the piano that caused her struggle and her mother‘s pain, when she is given this gift, she realizes what her mother had been trying to say to her from the time she was a child, until her adulthood.

As a grownup when Jing-Mei receives the piano from her mother, she changes her perception of her mother’s expectations from when she was a child, she finally realizes her mother only wanted her to try her hardest, do her best, and not be perfect. Jing-Mei views her mother’s expectations as impossible, impractical, and unrealistic, but later comes to her senses and views them as wishes for her own well-being. During her childhood, her mother wanted and therefore expected her to become a prodigy.

She was given test after test quizzed on card tricks, and memorization skills after a while, she came to the big realization that led her to her rebellious stage. After seeing my mother‘s disappointed face once again. I hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations”, Tan deliberately writes of how Jing-Mei feels about the tests to convey how she feels about the expectations behind them. She keeps failing and something “inside of her began to die” and lower her self-esteem, causing her to fall more and more until her mother had no expectations left for her to meet until the piano comes along, that causes an event leading to the expectations becoming nonexistent.

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By the end of the story Jing-Mei’s perception of her mother's expectations changed, she realizes that her mother only wanted her to become a prodigy so that she could try her hardest and be rewarded for it, an event from when she was a child is what caused her to change her mind when she is an adult, it is because of the piano. “By then my parents had saved up enough to get me a second-hand pianot it was the showpiece of our living room”. Her family worked hard to get her the piano so that she could have more time to practice, and a better chance of becoming a prodigy.

This goes to show her family wanted her to succeed, and Tan follows up by noting how big the piano was in Jing-Mei’s life. Every day she could see the piano, and every day her mother‘s expectations were failed by the mere sight of it, because JingeMei never put an effort into playing. This is the reason why when the piano is given back to her later on it is such a big deal. She realizes how much the piano meant to her mom, the hope of her daughter becoming a prodigy, and the showpiece of her life, in the living room every day where she could see it. When it is given back to her so many years later she knows that it is her way of forgiving her for all of the failed expectations, Jing-Mei comes to peace with her mother and finally realizes all of her mom‘s expectations were based on love.

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A View on the Culture in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. (2023, Apr 24). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-view-on-the-culture-in-the-joy-luck-club-by-amy-tan/

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