The Joy Luck Club Movie Vs Book

Essay, Research Paper


the novel, The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, it tells of four Chinese women drawn

together in San Francisco to play mah jong, and tell stories of the past.

These four women and their families all lived in Chinatown and belong to the

First Chinese Baptist Church. They were not necessarily religious, but found


could improve their home China. This is how the woo’s, the Hsu’s, the Jong’s

and the St Clair’s met in 1949.

The first member of the Joy Luck Club to

die was Suyuan Woo. Her daughter, Jing-mei "June" Woo, is asked to sit in

and take her mother’s place at playing mah jong. Memories of the past are

shared by the three women left, An-mei Hsu, Lindo Jong and Ying-ying St Clair.

June Woo learns of the real secret her mother carried to her grave from her

mother’s friends. The twin baby girls, her half sisters, Suyuan pushed in

a Wheelbarrow as she escaped from the Japanese. Due to sickness, Suyuan can

no longer carry her babies, and is forced to leave them on the side of the

road. She lives her whole life not knowing if they are alive or dead.


the book, the Woo’s left for America to build a better life for themselves.

Suyuan Woo wanted to have a daughter like herself, and no one would look down

on her. It was important that she speak perfect English and hopefully not

share in the same tragedies and sorrows she had known.

The movie brought

this concept out very vividly. You were able to imagine the time and place

and the emotions of the characters. Their anger in the early years, how women

and children were treated as possessions.

The book spoke of Rose Hsu Jordan,

daughter of An-mei Hsu, who had seven brothers and sisters. A very tragic

time in her life when her brother Bing drowns at age 1 while she was in charge

of watching him.

The movie does not touch upon this tragic event and brings

out the rich family Rose marries into, and the instant rejection from her boyfriends

mother. Rose unhappiness in her marriage with Tod, is similar to the unhappiness

her mother had throughout her life.

Lindo Jong was a special character in

the book , referring to promises she made to her mother as a young girl, and

keeping them throughout her life. She was actually abandoned by her family

and Lindo was sent to live with her future husband’s family. She never complained

because she would never dishonor her mother.

The movie did an excellent job

of showing us the culture during that time in China and how the matchmaker

arranged the marriages at an early age. She is a very smart girl and figures

out how she could get out of this marriage and still keep her promise to her

mother. She puts the blame on the matchmaker and is released from the marriage.


speaking of strong characters in the book, one would have to include Waverly

Jong, daughter of Lindo Jong. She was a bright child who became a famous chess

player, which made her mother very proud.

The movie brought out her unhappiness

in her life and the unhappy relationship with her mother. The two shared similar

fcars even though they lived in different countries and different times.


St Clair, according to the book, was married at an early age and referred to

her husband as a "bad" man. In fact she tried so hard to forget him she forgets

his name. She tells of taking her baby before it was born because of the hate

she has for her husband.

The movie tells the story a little different in reference

to her baby. After her husband comes home with his mistress and causes her

shame, she drowns her tiny infant while bathing him. A tragic and emotional

part in the movie.

Lena St Clair, daughter of Lindo St Clair, may not have

had such a tragic relationship with her husband as did her mother; but she

was unable to find happiness in her marriage. The book and movie were similar

in showing us the relationship she had with Harold. They were business partners

also, but he made more money than she. They shared everything right down the

middle and kept a running journal. They also decided not to have children

which goes along with their relationship.

In the final conclusion, the twin

baby girls did live and reunited with their half sister, June Woo, in China.

This story actually includes three generations of mothers and daughters sharing

same or similar tragedies and unhappiness. Mothers protecting their children,

wanting their daughters to know their worth. The influence of mothers on their

daughters every day life, showing respect was very important. The cultural

rules these women were raised with for so many years in China had a life time

effect on their lives. They wanted things different for their daughters in

America, but they still compared life as it should be in China. I was touched

by the strength and courage these women had whether they lived in China or




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