Amy Tan’s novel, The Joy Luck Club , follows the stories of four immigrant Chinese women and their American born daughters. Throughout her book Amy Tan emphasizes that modern Chinese-American families are a combination of old traditions and new ideas. The novel shows how mothers connect with their daughters through different means while maintaining relationships over long periods of time. Amy Tan intertwines the stories of Suyuan, Lindo, Ying-ying and Waverly in The Joy Luck Club .
Amy Tan also describes how Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) is similar to Amy San (Suyuan Woo) minus the father. Amy Tan incorporates magic realism in this novel through Jing-Mei Woo’s last wish. Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) gains acceptance into Mills College because Amy San (Suyuan Woo) promised the fortune teller that Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) would go to college. Amy Tan also writes about her relationship with her mother in The Joy Luck Club . Amy Tan’s relationship is similar to Waverly Jong and her mother, Lindo Jong.
Amy Tan describes how they don’t communicate well like Jing-Mei Woo and An-mei Hsu do at first, but Amy Tan gains respect for her mother as she spends time with her. She learns that she can love her mother even though they are different people who were born in different times. Amy Tan was born on February 19, 1952 in Oakland, California. Amy Tan’s parents were Chinese immigrants and Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) and Amy San (Suyuan Woo) demonstrate this with their habits and traditions.
Amy Tan’s mother is a traditional woman who features many similarities to Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju), Lindo Jong, Suyuan Woo and An-mei Hsu. Amy Tan describes her mother as an educated woman who speaks fluent English by reading newspapers constantly every day until they are memorized. Amy Tan’s father is the opposite of Amy Tan’s mother because he was not educated and would spend his time gambling at card games or mahjong. Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) tells Amy San (Suyuan Woo) that Amy San (Suyuan Woo), Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) and Amy Tan are the same type of daughters.
The difference between Amy Tan’s relationship with her mother and Amy Ling’s one is that Amy Tan spends time with her parents. Amy San (Suyuan Woo) also treats Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) like she is strong, but Amy San does not treat Amy Tan this way because Amy Tan will always be an American girl. Amy Yuen immigrated to the United States to marry Mateo Louie which connects her to Suyuan Woo because Suyuan Woo also married for love instead of marrying someone who was suitable for her family.
Like Jing-Mei Woo, Amy Tan enjoys playing the piano and Amy Yuen asks if Amy Tan could teach Amy Yuen how to play. Amy Yuen also tells Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) that Amy Tan is her favorite daughter. Waverly Jong and An-mei Hsu become mothers around the same time because both of them have daughters named Rose and June respectively. Waverly Jong struggles with her relationship with her mother because she spends so much time focusing on getting married instead of spending it with her family or making sure they were financially stable after she elopes with Phillip Choy.
An-mei Hsu does not show love for June when she was born because June is a girl, but it’s different for Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) because Amy Ling’s father is not present so Amy San (Suyuan Woo) concentrates all her love on Amy Ling. Waverly Jong and An-mei Hsu go to America around the same time, but they are different people. Amy Tan describes how Jing-Mei Woo was born in America while An-mei Hsu immigrated to America with her mother after she already had a child in China.
Sometimes Amy Tan views Waverly Jong as an enemy because of her own misunderstandings about their relationship with each other until the end when she becomes friends with Rose Hsu Jordan. Jing-Mei Woo’s last wish is granted at the end of Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club by allowing Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju) to play the piano for her. Amy Tan finishes writing about Amy Ling (Ling Wan-ju), Amy San (Suyuan Woo), and Amy Yuen at Amy Yuen’s funeral with Jing-Mei Woo describing how they all grew old together.
The story is set in San Francisco, California, and centers on four Chinese women: June and Rose Hsu Jordan, Ying-Ying St. Clair, and Lena St. Clair; their mothers Suyuan and An-mei; and their American-born daughters Jing-mei “June” Woo, Rose Hsu Jordan, Waverly Jong, Lena St. Clair, and Ying-ying St. Clair respectively. The novel opens with An-Mei Hsu placing a down payment on a house in the neighborhood of Elmhurst, San Francisco, so she could give it to her daughter June as a housewarming present for when she married John Wei.
The story then progresses back into Suyuan Woo’s birth family being forced to flee from their home during World War II because Manchurian soldiers were invading China due to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor—which created an alliance between Japan and Germany. They traveled by foot across China until they reached safety in Kweilin where they settled for several years before moving again; this time to Shanghai Suyuan became close friends with a group of women from the neighborhood whom she referred to as “The Joy Luck Club”.
The formation of the club was an accident because Suyuan Woo accidentally bumped into An-Mei Hsu and Amy Ling on her way home. Their friendship started when Amy Ling went searching for Amy San who just ran away from their arranged date while Suyuan Woo helped Amy Ling by going with Amy Ling to look for Amy San. They found Amy San at a church where Amy Tan confessed that she hated Suyuan Woo and told both Amy Ling and Amy San that they would never be sisters. After this, the three girls created a bond together because they could relate about how hard it was being Chinese Americans in America.
Later in the novel, Amy San marries Amy Tan’s father and Amy Ling marries Phillip Choy. After a few years, Amy Yuen was born to Amy Tan and her husband. Amy Tan then leaves her family to become a movie star in Hollywood while Amy Yuen remains with Amy San and Amy Ling who cared for her as if she were their own. When the Japanese invaded Shanghai, Amy San had no choice but to send Amy Yuen away because she wanted one of them to survive after the war ended so they could be together again—like Suyuan Woo promised them before they parted ways.
Amy Tan had an affair with a white man named Michael Eng whom she met on set during The Moon Snow Show which is known as being the first Chinese-American TV program. Amy Tan had Amy Yuen with Michael Eng and Amy San sent Amy Ling to America to take care of Amy Yuen because it would be healthier for Amy Yuen to grow up in America. After the war, Suyuan Woo moved back to Kweilin to marry her husband, Tyan-yu. Later on, Jing-mei (June) was born there but the three of them left shortly after Jing-mei’s birth; they then went to Hong Kong where they lived under British rule due to China becoming communist after the civil war ended.