Astrological Principles In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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Pages: 4

Astrology, Earth’s natural elements, and feng shui are merely seen as superstitions that have no real impact on lives by modern American society. Conversely, in traditional Chinese culture, these principles go unquestioned. Not only are they accepted as universally true, but they are seen as the defining principles to increase one’s luck and understand oneself better. In Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, the mothers consistently remind their daughters of their Chinese heritage to help them understand their identity. The mothers and daughters in the story use their knowledge of these concepts as guidelines for their spiritual individuality. Astrology, the elements, and feng shui influence the relationships between the characters by providing them with identities and personality traits. …show more content…
In the Chinese astrological system, one’s character is determined by the year of his or her birth. These birth years can be used to predict personality clashes. For example, Lindo Jong and Suyuan Woo have opposing astrological signs. Lindo is a Horse, and Suyuan is a Rabbit. Waverly states, “Auntie Lin and my mother were both best friends and arch enemies who spent a lifetime comparing their children” (Tan 37). Because astrology plays such a large role in the story, it is likely that the two mothers’ astrological signs are the reason behind their disputes. A connection between astrology and the characters’ relationships is also seen in one of Lena St. Clair’s stories. Lena tells the audience about how her own mother Ying-ying was stripped of her identity. When her husband writes the wrong birth year on her immigration papers, Ying-ying figuratively transforms from a Tiger to a Dragon. Losing this identity has strengthened Ying-ying’s desire to develop fierceness. This causes the two to clash because it is simply the nature of two tigers. Overall, astrology plays a large part in how the characters interact with each