Different Worlds

Analyzing the stories of four mothers and their daughters in The Joy Luck Club, we see that both mothers and daughters fail to communicate and convey their ideas to each other. No matter how deeply the mothers love their daughters, still a big gap exist among them. One of the reasons for this lack of understanding is the different culture they grew up in: Chinese culture and American culture. The way they look at the world and their understanding of it is different. Therefore, their expectation from each other doesn’t match with what they receive from each other.

In the chapter “The Red Candle,” Lindo Jong, who was taught to sacrifice her life for her family even if it costs her happiness, complains about her daughter’s attitude for keeping simple promises. Family and family’s reputation, for the mother, is the most sacred concept that she accepts to suffer all the pain and sorrow for it. In contrast, her daughter easily brings excuses for the simple promises she breaks frequently. In the chapter “Rules of the Games,” this problem enters into a serious phase. Waverly finds it rational to ask her mother to leave her alone when she practices, while her mother enjoys watching her playing chess. The mother gets hurt being told she is a disturbance. At the end of the chapter, Waverly can’t stand the pressure of her mother’s behavior when her mother expresses her feeling of being proud of her daughter publicly. She asks her mother to stop, breaks her mother heart with a rude answer and runs away.

In the story of Ying-Ying the case is more complicated. Both her husband and her daughter play an important role to make her come to conclusion she is nothing but a ghost. Her existence as an independent person is ignored whenever Lena and his father speak on behalf of her or make decision instead of her. Just because they did not understand her and the culture she has grown up with doesn’t necessarily mean she is crazy or incapable of representing herself. Maybe if the father and the daughter would give her the opportunity to covey her ideas and did not interpret her world in the way they saw not in the way it was, Ying-Ying wouldn’t end up living as a shadow or a ghost.

There are lots of difference between my world and my mother’s too. She comes from an Afghan traditional society. She grew up in a rural area, deprived of education, while I was born in a city in Iran and I am studying in an international university in a foreign country. However, I try to understand her, listen to her, and more important, respect her.

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