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The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan | Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2001 words Published: 15th Dec 2017

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The characters in Joy Luck Club differ from “Chan is missing” characters by, the first by having gender differences, second (C.I.M) characters arent trying to form mother/daughter bonds and third a major culture clash or conflict of cultural backgrounds happens in Joy Luck Club; therefore, The novelist and director both focus on the same issues and problems that Asian Americans face, being the topic of Behavioral assimilation/acculturation and structural or socioeconomic assimilation but go about separate routes on about discussing the issues and problems.

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The first major difference between the characters of the Joy Luck Club and “Chan is missing” is the gender differences. The Joy Luck Club characters are all females and “Chan is missing characters are all males. The gender differences between the two is the (C.I.M) movie was a masculine Asian perspective of Asian American culture rather than the Joy Luck Clubs feminine perspective of Asian American culture which was through a woman’s eyes. In “Chan is missing” the story and setting was more nit and gritty had a cast of predominately males which I stated before. Who cussed, drank beer and did just macho things. The Joy Luck Club story and settings focus on women empowerment, forming bond and inter personal relationships which is all women stuff and which is feminist based. The movie “Chan is missing” was more concerned with male qualities of pride, honor and a typical male move of acting without thinking. The incident when they gave the money to Chan without even knowing who he really was therefore was the bullheaded move which every male makes at one point in his life. Then the characters pride and honor got in the way which made them track Chan’s whereabouts, honor and pride which is as important to males but rather less as important to women.

Another difference between Chan is missing and the Joy Luck Club is the Joy Luck Club had a lot of lifetime drama, daughters hating mothers and mother hating daughters a story concerned with people’s feelings. The Amy tan book dealt with a lot of family issues and interpersonal problems that the main characters suffered from which made their relationships with one another difficult. The plot of the book revolved around how the characters could improved their bonds and better understand one another. In “Chan is Missing” such things were irrelevant the two main characters were family but seem to have a friendship bond, there were no personal family issues or problems that plagued the two except for the fact they lost 4000 dollars. Jo and Steve pretty much understood each other pretty well as for the characters from Joy Luck Club who all didn’t truly understand or know each other.

The last but major difference between the two was the culture clash or conflict of cultural backgrounds which happened in Joy Luck Club. There were instances of a cultural clash or conflict of cultural backgrounds mentioned in “Chan is missing” but was explained more vividly in Joy Luck Club. The Joy Luck Club showed or told of how Asian American can be very family oriented and how Family is very important within the Asian American community. In Chan is missing the director did not discuss the aspects of how family oriented Asians are in the movie or how important it is like the Joy Luck Club did which was the whole theme of the story. The Joy Luck Club explained of why Asian parents tend to be very strict with their children, because most mainland Asian parents come from strict and traditional cultures. It is only the way they were taught in their culture and it’s used as the main upbringing of their Asian children. Asian American also prides themselves on respect and being successful. They hold their respect very high with in the Asian American communities and it is a very important part of their culture. All these issues were the cause of the strife within the Joy Luck Club; the parents were very traditional sticking to the roots of their culture following every custom to the T. The Chan is missing movie did mention the issue of how most Asian immigrants refuse to assimilate and still continue to retain a Chinese mentality but the Joy club gave a greater example by describing the mothers actions and dialogue. The mothers of Joy Luck Club wanted their daughters to be Chinese and American But they worried that their daughters were rejecting their ambitions for them, not caring about Chinese traditions and hating their strange customs. This was truly causing a culture clash or conflict of cultural backgrounds between modernized new generations of Joy Luck Club against the traditional characters. In “Chan is missing” there was more of a focus of how important it is for Asian Americans to strive to be successful in America. It went in more detail then the Joy Luck Club which only gave examples through the Waverley character. In certain events throughout the movie a few characters in (C.I.M) stated or assumed that Chan ran away because he was ashamed of how much a failure he was having had come to the U.S and obtained very little. They made it seem in the movie that it is an obligation for Asian Americans to be successful in life or they would bring dishonor to themselves and their families. By watching certain scenes in (C.I.M) emphasized how important it is for Asian Americans to be successful at whatever they do and failure is considered a taboo in Asian culture. These subjects are what set (C.I.M) and The Joy Luck Club apart from each other both discussed the same issues within Asian American culture but one or the other went in more detail about the subjects which caused major differences.

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Amy Tan and Wayne Wang both focused on the same issue and problem within Asian Americans culture which is the problem of assimilation and its different variations, being Behavioral assimilation, structural assimilation, socioeconomic assimilation and also the problems created behind assimilation. Behavioral assimilation occurs when a newcomer absorbs the cultural norms, values, beliefs, and behavior patterns of the “host” society. This may also involve learning English and/or becoming an American citizen examples were shown throughout the film (C.I.M) when then Jo sat down and talked to the English language teacher. Within this process, Asian Americans may choose to retain much of their traditional Asian culture, norms, and behaviors while still acquiring those of mainstream American society “still thinking Chinese” term used in (C.I.M), or to discard his/her traditional forms of Asian culture entirely in favor of complete immersion and identification within American society. The second and third type of assimilation is structural and socioeconomic assimilation, referring to when Asian Americans enter and become integrated into the economic, social, political and cultural institutions of the American society — i.e., using the members of Joy Luck Club who had a lawyer, a writer and looking at other Asian who obtain well to do jobs becoming full members of American society. Simply referring to when they attain socioeconomic status usually in the form of high incomes, great occupations, suburban residency, paying taxes and so on causing them to be equal to other members of mainstream American society. All Asian American at some point come to The U.S to socioeconomically assimilate for themselves or their children with the goal of attain a great future, to do that they will have to adapt by assimilating to the culture in which they or their family have migrated to. Some assimilate very quickly while others assimilate very slowly sometimes following a less prosperous path and assimilating into the underclass or working really hard towards being in the upper-class. While other choosing not at all to assimilate becoming members within tight-knit immigrant communities. These different kinds of assimilators are what sometimes lead to cultural clashes and problems within Asian communities. The main problems is of immigrant Asians or Asian Americans “finding their identities” and the misunderstanding of traditional Asian and (A.B) American born Asian. I forgot to mention The process of undergoing either behavioral, structural, socioeconomic assimilation can occur over time and over the succession of generations leading to increasing economic, cultural, political, and residential integration into American society which happened to the younger members of Joy Luck Club. Or it can happen in a non-linear, circular, or “bumpy” manner in which Asian Americans revive or retain old cultural traditions, norms, and behaviors and choose to remain somewhat isolated from mainstream American society (older members of Joy Luck Club) or alternatively, to combine elements of both traditional Asian although they may modify old traditions and values to fit their contemporary circumstances and mainstream American culture seen throughout “Chan is missing”. In the Joy Luck Club and Chan is missing Movie “finding their identities” and the misunderstanding of traditional Asian and (A.B) American born Asian was all from the problems of assimilation. The behavioral assimilation case throughout the Joy Luck Club was of the mothers who didn’t assimilate retaining old cultural traditions and being strict towards their daughters; therefore the daughters who did assimilate and were very Americanized causing a major culture conflict. The socioeconomic and structural assimilation accrued when the mother pushed their daughters to be what their culture expected of them to be which was successful be it being a piano players, doctor, or lawyer. This caused a lot of misunderstanding between the two groups causing each other to doubt and to truly look into understanding each other and themselves “finding their identities”. In Chan is missing they gave the assumptions that Chan fled because he could not or did not do well enough to socioeconomically assimilate and to behavioral assimilate in American society. He failed to socioeconomically assimilate because he was unable to obtain the wealth he thought he would achieve in America that he had back home, his wife considered him a failure and several characters concurred with that fact. The behavioral assimilation was the most talked about topic, the phrase “thinking Chinese” came up several times which made me recall several incidents that related to behavioral assimilations. The scene when Jo and Steve were in the café talking to the lady about Chan’s accident and how it was a lack of communication made references of how it was a cultural difference. The language teacher and the insurance agent that sponsored Chan made reference of how some Chinese still held on to their mainland beliefs which got in the way of them assimilating and becoming successful, that they were “Thinking Chinese”. The political feud between the PCR and Taiwan nationalist paraders is an example of how some Asians still held on to their cultural political traditions rather than embrace their new American ones which caused a lot of problems in the Asian community. Those incidents were all example of Chan not really being able to behavioral assimilate, causing Chan to probably search within himself and “find his identity” stated by Jo in the movie. There were also dialogues of the younger character Steve having misunderstandings between Chan which were caused by culture differences having different sets of humor because they came from different cultural backgrounds. The Behavioral assimilation, structural assimilation, and socioeconomic assimilation between Asian American society and culture were the main focus within the movie and story; they were linked together through the issues of the sometimes misunderstanding of peoples who take different approach towards assimilating and the problems which causes a person to rethink their cultural identities.


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