Tan And Wang Essay, Research Paper
The Joy Luck Club
The film and book, The Joy Luck Club, directed by Wayne Wang and written by Amy Tan, respectively, although still depressing at times was a nice departure from the blunt death and destruction featured in the works we discussed the first half of the semester. The stories of the eight women hit very close to home for me because I also have a love and hate relationship with my mother who lived a much different life growing up than I did. The film and book are a beautiful celebration of mother and daughter relationships, the Chinese culture, and the clash between old traditions and generations and new ones.
Many may disagree, but I think that the film did a much better job of developing and presenting the characters and sharing their thoughts than the book did. I have read the book and watched the movie several times and the film gets better each time while the book becomes more boring and harder to read all the way through. It s second nature for me to draw a picture in my head of the world that is presented in books, but it was a very difficult task for me to perform while reading The Joy Luck Club. I attribute this deficit to my lack of knowledge about China and its people s culture. The film showed me the people and the land. It was a lot easier to interpret the happenings and their meanings in the film.
The first time I read the book it was extremely difficult to keep up with what was going on and who was telling the story. It constantly jumped back and forth between the past and present and between the mothers and daughters. It was very frustrating to try to keep up and it did not become any easier to understand with repeated readings. By putting distinct faces on the characters the film made tracking the timeline simple. I was able to spend less time trying to get the facts straight and more time listening to the important lessons being told and admiring the beauty of the cinematography itself.
I also appreciate the changes that were made in the adaptation of The Joy Luck Club from the paper to the film. The nicest change was Rose getting back together with her husband, Ted, at the end of the film. Their story in the book was left up in the air. There was no confirmation that they got divorced or that they reconciled their differences and stayed in the marriage. Changing this outcome was a good move to make because it tied the ending into a neat little package. Hollywood is very good at ending films on a happy note and that is what many people are used to seeing. I think that the film would feel unconcluded if the director left this story hanging because the endings of the tales of the other daughters did not have a very distinct and fulfilling conclusion in either the film or the book. It was kind of Wang to give the audience a little sense of closure.
In the case of Ying Ying St. Clair, I also think that it was wise for the writer s to have the character drown her baby instead of abort it. It developed into a much more dramatic effect that more people could relate to. I do not think that Ying Ying would have been a very sympathetic character in the movie if she had an abortion because so many people have a very strong opinion about the controversial subject. I am not saying that murdering children is okay; rather the way she took her child s life in the movie was believable and understandable due to the circumstances. It may even have been accidental and mistakes are easily forgivable. By drowning the baby that she so desperately loved and doted on, the director effectively demonstrated the sheer pain that Ying Ying was in by having to be married to an abusive, cheating husband.
Another topic that set The Joy Luck Club section apart from the other works discussed in this series is the role of men. I like that way one student in a class discussion described their role as catalytic. The stories were solely about the women and the events in their lives are what moved the plot. Men did have a lot to do with the direction that the women took, but their emotions and the points of view about the women s situations were not relevant. For example, Ying Ying St. Clair drowned her son because her abusive husband drove her to want revenge on him, Lena St. Clair had an unloving, stubborn husband who could not see her , Lindo Jong hated her husband from their arranged marriage because he essentially took her away from her family, and Rose Hsu lost touch with her soul because she spent so much time trying to please her husband and keep him happy.
I prefer the film to the book, but I found the entirety of the stories in general marvelous. I have read very few works written by women, for women, and about women. It was very exciting to read a novel and watch a movie that showed such great insight into a woman s heart and mind and that proved that women can be beautiful, intelligent, independent, and strong in such a male-dominated world.