Joy Luck Club3




When ignorance plagues your mind, you find it difficult to remove the rose colored glasses from your eyes and let the clarity of reality seep in. We all have the ability to scratch the surface of any culture, to know that Egypt has the Great Pyramids or China with its Great Wall. But when we are fortunate to be given an opportunity to find out how, why, and when, it is then, that our minds have finally declared to be rid of those glasses of ignorance and obtain an insight into a world that is different, unique and scary as could possibly be imagined. The Joy Luck Club provides the gateway into a look at the mysteries of the Chinese culture, adding spice to the mundane of conventional traditions.

When attempting to gain insight on a different and unique culture, it is found that the emic perspective is extremely beneficial. The emic is a native’s viewpoint of their culture. In the book and after viewing the movie to gain the perspective of the director, each character commentated on the events that took place during their lives. Lindo, who was the recipient of a faulty pre-arranged marriage, discussed her dislikes of the entire ordeal, while still being a submissive and respectful wife until she got out of the marriage. With the use of the emic perspective, one was able to really sense and understand, not only the events taking place, but gain insight on what the character felt and thought. Being able to see the culture through the eyes of a native allowed for a true and concise understanding of what their world is all about because they were able to maintain the reality without crossing into fantasy.

The idea of marriage is well displayed in The Joy Luck Club. Everything from blind love, to pre-arrangement to polygamy are characterized as having an acceptable place in Chinese society.
The marriage of blind love seems to serve its title well. Ying Ying is captured by the charm of a handsome Chinese man who ultimately sweeps her off her feet. After the birth of their first and only son, she begins to see exactly what she got herself into. Deceit, betrayal, adultery - all of which contributed to a phase of emotional disturbance that lead to her mind becoming so occupied with the event that she carelessly drowned her son while bathing him, not realizing it until it was too late. This storyline seemed to have been pulled directly from an overly dramatic soap opera. But what gave it the Chinese touch came in the aftermath of her crumbling marriage. The importance of the personal spirit was clearly seen when Ying Ying realized that her daughter, Lena had no vitality in her. She was very much alive, yet had no life because her mother has no life in her to transfer to her daughter. Having seen this Ying Ying picked herself up and began to rejuvenate her spirit to help her daughter not to make the same mistakes she did while in China. She hugged her daughter tightly as if to say ‘receive what I neglected to give you, my spirit.’

Polygamy did not seem to be the most favored of marital practices. When An Mei’s mother had become a widow, she was verbally attacked by her family for dishonoring her husband, by not remaining a widow. Instead she elected to become the forth wife of a very rich man. From the marriage, it was seen that the lower in the order of wife one is, the less honor and respect she receives. This was shown particularly when the mother conceives a son that was immediately given to the first wife to raise and keep for herself. A tradition due to the inherent patriarchal society, a theoretical social system based on the complete authority of the father or an elderly male over the family group. Not only was the marriage not well accepted by the family, but also the mother, after realizing her mistake, killed herself for the shame she brought to herself as well as her daughter.

By far, the pre-arranged marriage was the most unique and intriguing of the three. Arranged by her mother when she was five, Lindo lives out her childhood preparing