The joy luck club

he Joy Luck Clu
-American Translation
Four directions
American Translation
A mother is upset that her daughter has put a mirror at the
foot of her bed in her new bedroom: she believes it is bad
luck. The daughter is upset that her mother is so negative
and superstitious, but then the mother pulls out another
mirror. She places it above the headboard, so that the two
mirrors face each other. She says that this will multiply her
luck. When the daughter looks in the mirror, she finds that
her mother is right: through her own reflection, she can see
her future child.
Page 166
“This greasy thing, do you expect me to eat with it?”
She made a show of washing out her rice bowl with hot tea, and then
warned other restaurant patrons seated near us to do the same.
She told the waiter to make sure the soup was very hot, and of course,
it was by her tongue;s expert estimate “not even lukewarm.”
Page 167
And that’s what she is, a hose, born in 1918, destined to be obstinate and
frank to the pint of tactlessness. She and i make a bad combination,
because I'm a rabbit, born in 1951, supposedly sensitive, with tendencies
toward being thin-skinned and skittery at the first sign of criticism.
My mother had never met Rich. In fact, every time I brought up his
name- … -my mother found a way to change the subject.
Page 168
I pained for the bill, with a ten and three ones. My mother pulled back
the dollar bills and count out the exact change, thirteen cents, and put
that on the tray instead, explaining firmly: ‘No tip !’ She tossed her head
back with triumphant smile. And while my mother used the restroom, i
slipped the waiter a Five-dollar bull. He nodded to me with deep
My mother had not been to my apartment in months. When i was first
married, she used to drop by unannounced, until one day I suggested se
should call ahead of time. Ever since then, she has refused to come unless
I issued an official invitation.
Page 169
Her look was one of painful denial, reminding me of a time long ago
when she took my brothers and me down to a clinic and get our polio
booster shots. As the needle went into my brother’s arm and he
screamed, my mother liked at me with agony written all over her face and
assured me, ‘Next one doesn't hurt.’
‘This is not so good,’ she said at least. ‘It is just leftover strips. And the
fur is too short, no long hairs.’ ‘how can you criticise a gift!’ I protested. I
was deeply wounded. ‘He gave me this from his heart.’ ‘That is why I
worry, ’ she said.
And looking at the coat in the mirror, I couldn’t fend off the strength of
her will anymore, her ability to make me see the black where there was
once white, white where there was once black.
Page 170
My mother knows how to hit a nerve. And the pain I feel is worse than
any other kind of misery. Because what she does always comes as a shock,
exactly like an electric jolt, that grounds itself permanently in my
memory. I still remember the first time i felt it.
• “And my mother loved to show me off, like one of my many trophies she
polished. She used to discuss my games as if she had devised the
object of pride
• “To our family friends who visited she would confide, “You don’t have to
be so smart to win chess. It is just tricks. You blow from the North, South,
East, and West. The other person becomes confused. They don’t know
which way to run.”
• “… she wouldn’t speak to me. … as if I had become invisible and she was
talking about a rotten fish she had thrown away but which had left behind
its bad smell.” simile
Page 171 + 172
• “So I ignored her. I refused to speak and waited for her to
come to me.”
• “I realized my mother knew more tricks than I had thought.
But now I was tired of her game.”
Waverly is playing a metaphoric chess game with her mum
• “You think it is so easy. One day quit, next day play.
Everything for you is this way. So smart, so easy, so fast.”
• “It is not so easy anymore”
- returning to chess is not so easy anymore
- mother-daughter relationship is not easily patchable
• “I had made the white squares black, and the black squares white,
and everything would be all right.” foreshadows Waverly losing her
talent in playing chess
• “I could no longer see the secret weapons of each piece, the magic
within the intersection of each square. I could see only my mistakes,
my weaknesses.”
White squares black = good became bad = “I could no longer see the
secret weapons of each piece, …”
Black squares white = flaws became visible = “I could see only my
mistakes, my weaknesses”
When Waverly returns to chess to find her prodigy
gone, she realises that part of what sustained her
had ben her mother’s love and support.
Although she believed that the talent was all her
own and that her mother was taking credit for her
successes, she nows sees that her achievements
always depended mostly on her mother’s devotion
and pride in her.
• “she was feeding me this because I had the chicken pox and one
chicken knew how to fight another.”
Chinese superstition
Despite the conflict between them, Lindo still loves her daughter
Page 173
• “I already knew what she would do, how she would attack him,
how she would criticize him.”
Page 175
Because Shoshana really was a miracle. She was perfect. I found every
detail about her to be remarkable, especially the way she flexed and
curled her fingers. From the very moment she flung her fist away from
her fingers. From the very moment she flung her fist away from her
mouth to cry. I knew my feelings for her were inviolable.
• Reflects the feeling the mothers have of
their daughters. Which the daughter’s
can’t see because of language and
cultural barrier
Page 176
Auntie Su was my mother’ friend from way back. They were very close
which meant they were ceaselessly tormenting each other with boasts and
• Demonstrates Chinese culture.
I knew she would do this, because cooking was how my mother expressed
her love, her pride, her power, her proof that she knew more than Auntie
Su. “Just be sure to tell her later that her cooking was the best you ever
tasted, that it was far better than Auntie Su.
• Chinese Culture.
• Love to show off.
• Love to compete.
Page 177
So many spots on his face,
• Language barrier
• Culture differences
Page 179
‘Linda, Tim,’ he said, ‘we’ll see you again, I’m sure’ My parents’
names are Lindo and Tin Jong, and nobody, except a few older family
friends, ever calls them by their first names.
• Cultural differences
• Cultural barrier
Page 180
I woke up late, with teeth clenched and every nerve on
edge. Rich was already up, showered, and reading the
Sunday paper. “Morning, doll,” he said between noisy
Munches of cornflakes.
All her strength was gone. She had no weapons, no demons
surrounding her. She looked powerless. Defeated. And then I
was seized with fear that she looked like this because she was
dead. She had died when I was having terrible thoughts
about her. I had wished her out of my life, and she had
acquiesced, floating out of her body to escape my terrible
Page 181
And now I felt numb, strangely weak, as if someone had unplugged me
and the current running through me had stopped.
“Jrdaule”− I already know this− she said, as if to ask why I was telling her this
“You know?”
“Of course. Even if you didn’t tell me,” she said simply.
You think I have a secret meaning. But it is you who has this meaning.
Oh, her strength! her weakness! − both pulling me apart. My mind
was flying one way, my heart another. I sat down on the sofa next to
her, the two of us stricken by the other.
Page 182
I felt as if I had lost a battle but one that I didn’t know I had been
I…..I just don’t know what’s inside me right now…..You know Sun Yatsen, hah?”
Their arrows bounced off the shields like rain on stone. Sun Wei
had….So now you know what is inside you, almost all good stuff from
Page 183
“I was born in China, in Taiyuan,” she said. “Taiwan is not China.”
“People there only dream that it is China, because if you are Chinese
you can never let go of China in your mind.”
“You call Apple for New York. Frisco for San Francisco.”
“Nobody calls San Francisco that!” I said, laughing. “People who call it
that don’t know any better.”
I saw what I had been fighting for: It was for me a scared child, who had
run away a long time to what I had imagined was a safer place…..getting
a little crabby as she waited patiently for her daughter to invite her in.
Page 184
I laugh nervously, and Rich jokes: “That’d be great, Lindo. You could
translate all the menus for us and make sure we’re not eating snakes or
dogs by mistake.” I almost kick him.
And I know what she really means. She would love to go to China with
us. And I would hate it……lifting off, moving West to reach the East.

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