Free Study Guide: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan - BookNotes|
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THE JOY LUCK CLUB: LESSON PLAN / LITERARY CRITICISM
Ying-ying contemplates the fact that she has always been separated from
her Americanized daughter by a seemingly insurmountable gulf. It is like
they cannot communicate. As she thinks about the distance between the
two of them, Ying-ying remembers her forgotten wish: she wanted to be
“found.” She now wonders if she and her daughter will ever really find
Ying-ying’s story is centered on a traumatic moment in her life when she was punished for getting blood on her clothes by being stripped to her underwear and left alone. Ying-ying is so crushed that she feels she has lost her true identity. The tiger outfit made especially for her to wear to the festival has been taken away, and she is by herself on a boat wearing only non-descript cotton panties. When she falls overboard, she feels like she has lost herself. She looks at a child on another boat, safely playing at her mother’s legs. Ying-ying tries to believe that the safe little girl is really herself.
Ying-ying is rescued and taken ashore, but she cannot find her family. When she spies the Moon Lady, she plans to make a wish; then Ying-ying discovers that the Moon Lady is really a man. She is so surprised at the discovery that she forgets to make her wish. Then in the midst of thinking about how she and her own daughter are separated by a different lifestyle and a communication gap, Ying-ying suddenly remembers her wish from long ago. She wanted to be found.
As this fourth part of the first section of the novel comes to a close, several
themes and ideas have been developed and repeated. Each story has pointed
out the difference between appearance and reality and the need to find
one’s true self. Just as the swan was really not a swan, the moon lady
is not really a woman. Just as Ying-ying wanted to find herself when she
was lost, Lindo Jong had wanted to find herself outside of her miserable
marriage to Tyanyu.
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. 09 May 2017