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Joy Luck Club - The Struggles of Life


A giant total has been assessed onto an assignment. The team has spent
weeks of preparation. In moments the presentation of this project will
commence. But, some team members aren't ready. The whole project
crumbles and ultimately results in a failure. Disciplined workers have
no control over it, but they must overcome this obstacle. Only this way
can they become better people and know how to handle similar situations
in the future. People must overcome hardships to have stronger
personalities, just like the women in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club.
People learn from their mistakes. For Suyuan Woo, she over packed and
failed to make it to a relief area. "After a while, she left the
suitcases behind, keeping only the food and a few clothes. And later
she also dropped the bags of wheat flour and rice^ ." (p. 324). After
leaving all this, she continued, but she was already too fatigued to
walk anymore. Her energy was burned up from her body, like fossil fuel
from the Earth. Finally, too much was used. She learned that no one
could ever take everything with them. They must make sacrifices to
survive. An-mei Hsu survived a great hardship, like when hot soup
scorched her young neck, leaving her with a scar. "I could not speak
because of this terrible choking feeling. I could not see because of
all the tears that poured out to wash away the pain." (p. 39). Her
tender skin survived the intense heat, and her character developed.
When she was older, another crisis erupted when her mother killed
herself with opium. At this point, Wu-Tsing's house was nothing, only a
hive of polygamy. From this, she learned that she could gain respect
that her mother could never fully achieved. "And on that day, I showed
Second Wife the fake pearl necklace she had given me and crushed it
under my foot. And on that day, Second Wife's hair began to turn white.
And on that day, I learned to shout." (p. 272). She resisted, and
refused to succumb to the pressures in her life. Planned marriages
were a common practice when the Joy Luck mothers were still young. For
instance, when Lindo was 12, she was forced to marry into a very harsh
family. From it, she learned patience. Soon, after her marriage, she
longed to be free again. "On the morning of that day, I woke up Tyan-Yu
and the entire house with my wailing. It took Huang Taitai a long time
to come into my room." (p. 60). From this, she also learned that
manipulation was a cruel, but powerful force. Without notice, she made
many attempts to be free. Eventually she broke her way out. Even though
she freed herself, another obstacle appeared when she came to the
United States. Unable to find a reasonable job, she was forced to work
at a cookie factory, where perfection
 was critical. "If you grabbed the pancake too soon, you would burn
 your fingers on the hot, wet dough. But if you grabbed too late, the
 cookie would harden before you could even complete the first bend."
 (p. 298). From this job, came love. Lindo's marriage to Tin Jong was
 inevitable. An-mei, another worker at the factory, tried to connect
 them and it happened. The 'right' fortune cookie from the factory
 strengthened it into a marriage. While some marriages are planned,
others are just bad, as was the case with Ying-ying's first marriage.
Her first marriage was a bitter pill to swallow because her first
husband was unethical and unfaithful. "And I will tell her of the baby
I killed because I came to hate this man so much. I took this baby from
my womb before it could be born." (p. 281). After enduring this
hardship, she learned to choose a better marriage. Even though she did
lose her identity passing through Customs, she did not hate St. Clair,
and she certainly didn't abort Lena, her child. Even tigers get caught
sometimes, and Ying-ying was no exception. Divorces can be very
painful. It was for Rose Hsu Jordan, but she survived it and didn't let
it affect her negatively. Like her mother, An-mei, she was able to
bounce back with confidence from her hardships. "Ted pulled out the
divorce papers and stared at them. His x's were still there, the blanks
were still blank." (p. 219). This was the turning point in Rose's life
because decision making was not an easy task for her. She was forced to
succeed, or she would never find her true self. Everybody has their
fair share of problems and Waverly Jong, a chess player, is no
exception. Her marriage to Rich Schields was not easy to accomplish.
With her mother, Lindo, strongly influencing her to find another man,
it was hard to decide. The hurricane from hell for Waverly came when
Rich was invited for dinner. "This was one of our family's cue to eat
some and proclaim it was the best she had ever made^ And he proceeded
to pour a riverful of the salty black stuff on the platter, right
before my mother's horrified eyes." (p. 197). Rich failed miserably at
this, and a multitude of other cultural tests. Fortunately, Waverly was
able to weather the storm and rebuild from the wreckage though. After
being mesmerized, she learned never to have her nave mother around Rich
again. She knew there was no hope after that. But, she had to face the
goddess of the sea and fight it with the invisible strength she had
worked so hard to master. Her popularity hindered her learning. Her
mother was always pressuring and pushing her to become the best. "She
retreated to the kitchen and made loud noises with the pots and pans.
When the crashing stopped, I could see out of the corner of her eye
that she was standing in the doorway." (p. 101). You can only do so
much at a time, everyone has their limits. Waverly ended her chess
career to avoid being burned out. Sacrificing chess was not such a bad
idea because those skills were traded for life skills. June (Jing-mei)
Woo was merely a seed compared to Waverly in the beginning. She was
never as talented nor motivated. As a child, Suyuan flooded her to
become a prodigy, but she was unable grow in talent. "I was aware of
eyes burning into my back. I felt the shame of my mother and father^ ."
(p. 151). After she disappointed her parents, Waverly made fun of her,
causing her to feel more shame. From this, sprouted "Best Quality". A
valuable quality that negated the effect of being a prodigy. June was
equal to Waverly's in status, and while not as talented, she had that
quality. She used it well, like a stepping stone across a river to the
land of higher self confidence. As with most other women in this book,
Lena St. Clair also had marital problems. Her problem was not the
standard run-of-the-mill. Harold, her husband, wanted


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