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The mother-daughter relationships represented in Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club are influenced by many existing factors. Lena St. Clair, Ying-Ying St. Clair’s daughter, is a Chinese-American adult who lives with her forceful husband, Harold. Ying-Ying is a Chinese mother who travelled to America to live a better life after experiencing many hardships in China. Throughout the novel, the relationship between Lena and Ying-Ying is represented as weak and distant. These characters are prevented from having a healthy relationship because they do not support each other, they possess similar characteristics, and they are strong.
The weak and distant mother-daughter relationship is formed by many factors, including lack of support. The lack of …show more content…
In the novel, Ying-Ying states, “I kept my mouth closed so selfish desires would not fall out. And because I remained quiet for so long now my daughter does not hear me” (67). Usually in Chinese culture, “selfish desires” are expected to be kept away, especially if you are a woman. After all of the hurtful events that occurred in Ying-Ying’s life, such as the departure of her first husband and the deaths of her two sons, she “remained quiet for so long.” This is most likely because she felt as if she was unworthy to want something in life: she wanted her tiger spirit to return. Her daughter fails to “hear” her because she does not keep her “selfish desires” from escaping her “mouth.” For example, Ying-Ying states, “She sits by her fancy swimming pool and hears only her Sony Walkman, her cordless phone, her big, important husband asking her why they have charcoal and no lighter fluid” …show more content…
After Ying-Ying narrates her life story, which was filled with mostly pain and sorrow, she states, “I will gather together my past and look. I will see a thing that has already happened. The pain that cutmy spirit loose. I will hold that pain in my hand until it becomes hard and shiny, more clear” (252). Ying-Ying wishes to “gather together my past and look,” indicating that she will not look down upon and regret her “past” but only “look” back and reflect on her past. Ying-Ying understands that these events caused “pain” which “cut my spirit loose”; She is referring to her strong and fierce spirit which makes her feel as if she is living again. She wishes to “hold” the “pain,” rather than toss it away and ignore it. She wants to study this pain as it turns “hard, and shiny, more clear,” meaning that she wants to study it until it becomes understandable. Ying-Ying also states, “I will use this sharp pain to penetrate my daughter’s tough skin and cut her spirit loose. She will fight me, because this is the nature of two tigers” (252). Ying-Ying plans to take advantage of “the sharp pain” which she experienced throughout her lifetime to metaphorically “cut” Lena’s “tiger spirit loose,” which is also known as a strong, fierce, and fighter spirit. Her “tough skin” will be hard to “penetrate” because she is resistant and headstrong, but this only motivates Ying-Ying because

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