The Joy Luck Club Read-Along: Week 4 Recap

Joy

Welcome to the 4th weekly recap of The Joy Luck Club read-along!  Below is the schedule.  Each Saturday I’ll post a recap (with clearly marked spoilers for those who get a little behind).  The final review of the book will be on Saturday, October 24th.

This week, we read two chapters, each about one of the daughters.  I’m feeling a mixture of anger and sadness; anger towards the mothers, and sadness for the daughters.

[Spoilers] This week’s chapters brought up a lot of memories from my childhood, and also some troubling impressions of Chinese culture.  First, with Jing-mei, all I could think of was how I felt growing up and believing that I was never good enough in my Mom’s eyes.  The following quote says it all: “In all of my imaginings, I was filled with a sense that I would soon become perfect.  My mother and father would adore me.  I would be beyond reproach.  I would never feel the need to sulk for anything.  But sometimes the prodigy in me became impatient.  ‘If you don’t hurry up and get me out of here, I’m disappearing for good, ‘ it warned.  ‘And then you’ll always be nothing.'”   And how many times did I hear my Mom say what Jing-mei’s says: “So ungrateful.”?  As far as culture goes, what I’ve noticed, but couldn’t put into words prior to this, is that it seems like everything is expressed in negative terms.  The mothers brag about their children by complaining, and, in the next chapter, Lena’s Mom only ever predicts things that will go wrong.  I get that bragging and pridefulness aren’t good, but only thinking of things in terms of what is missing is no way to live.  [End Spoilers]

What do you think?  Comment away!  Just be sure to mark clearly any spoilers 🙂

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