The Joy Luck Club is the first novel of Amy Tan，a famous Chinese-American writer. In the novel she mainly describes the relationship between the Joy Luck Club mothers and their daughters and cultural conflicts. The novel is set in the age of globalization and in the multicultural American society; it represents the process of misunderstanding, conflicts, understanding and blending between the mothers and the daughters. Globalization not only brings many chances to china but also brings cultural challenges to China. As the degree of globalization is getting deeper, Chinese culture faces the danger of being integrated and changed by other cultures. Through contextual analysis of the Joy Luck Club and the cultural conflicts and blending embodied in it, this paper demonstrates that in the age of globalization a balance should be kept among different cultures, and a right attitude towards cultural conflicts should be taken, and it suggests that the native culture should not be thrown away when learning from others, and instead, it should be transmitted to others.
The Joy Luck Club; conflict; understanding; cultural blending
In the novel The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan explores the relationship between mothers and daughters. There are 4 mother-daughter pairs in the novel, mothers are the first generation immigrants, and the daughters are born in America. The Joy Luck Club mothers come from the Chinese traditional families when the dictatorial Chinese power is destroyed by the Japanese insurgents in the 1940s. They escape from the political upheaval of China, but they don‘t forget their Chinese traditional culture, while their daughters are born in America, they are the second generation immigrants, and they don‘t understand their mothers‘ Chinese culture, and their way of thinking, so there are often misunderstandings between the mothers and the daughters. In order to make their daughters know them and the Chinese culture, the Joy Luck Club mothers have made pain- taking efforts to remove their differences. They seize every opportunity to tell their daughters their past experiences, demonstrate their courage to challenge the feudal society and never stop extending maternal love to their daughters. Thanks to their great efforts, their daughters gradually understand them and the Chinese culture. Therefore, cultural understanding and blending between the mothers and daughters are achieved.
In the context of globalization, China faces many chances to develop its economic power; meanwhile it faces more challenges to its traditional culture. With the development of China‘s economic power, China plays a more important role in the world. The communication with other countries and areas whose cultural backgrounds are totally different from China‘s is increasing rapidly. This paper, through the exploration of The Joy Luck Club, mainly discusses the cultural conflicts, understanding and integration between the mothers and the daughters, and metaphorically between Chinese culture and American culture.
I．Amy Tan and Her Novel The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan was born in Oakland, California. Both of her parents were Chinese immigrants. Her father, John Tan, was an electrical engineer and Baptist minister. In China, her mother Daisy had divorced an abusive husband but lost custody of her three daughters. She was forced to leave them behind when she escaped on the last boat to leave Shanghai in 1949. Her marriage to John Tan produced three children, Amy and her two brothers. Amy Tan’s family is a typical immigrant family, her parents are the first generation immigrants, and she is the second-generation immigrant.
She has experienced the same kind of conflicts which she portrayed in the novel. She and her mother were in constant conflict when she finished the high school in Switzerland. She and her mother didn’t speak for six moths after Amy Tan left the Baptist College her mother chose for her to follow her boyfriend to San Jose City College. Tan further defied her mother by abandoning the pre-med course her mother had urged her to pursue the study of English and linguistics.
In the novel, Jing-Mei abandoned studying piano her mother hoped her to study, because she was allergic to her mother’s arrangement for her. Amy Tan and the daughters in the novel