Throughout The Joy Luck Club, one of the most frequently displayed themes is that concepts from one culture can be misconstrued to mean something different in other cultures, leading to misunderstanding and lack of communication between the native born Chinese mothers and their fully Americanized daughters. This is the most important theme because disagreements and differences between the mothers and daughters in this story often take place because they are unable to communicate with each other. Differences in culture cause the daughters to think that their mothers are unintelligent because of their of incorrect English, while the mothers grow impatient with their daughters who fail to understand Chinese subtleties.
To an American, these subtleties are nearly impossible to understand due to the perspectives and ways of thinking of an American person, which are different to those of a Chinese person. Also, actions in China are often taken differently than in America. For example, when Waverly’s mother Lindo bragged about her daughter’s success, kids in China would accept this, while kids in America usually become annoyed because American children like Waverly, they want to have the glory all to themselves. Also in China, children are encouraged and sometimes even forced to pursue one area and be exceptional at it while in America, kids are encouraged to have multiple skills and to be good in many areas. In June’s situation, her mother wanted her to become the best in one area instead of allowing June to discover her own interests and to have a more balanced lifestyle.
Courtney from Study Moose
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