Autonomy In The Joy Luck Club

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Amy Tan’s book and Wayne Wang’s movie The Joy Luck Club use Rose Hsu’s contrasting settings – inside and outside – to symbolize the relationship between two equally contrasting forces – fate and autonomy. Through this methodology, the two works correspondingly assert that a healthy balance can be found among these seemingly independent themes that leads to an individual’s empowerment albeit in varying ways. In both the novel and the movie, Rose makes complaisant decisions that coincide with her fate, not being able to control her life, when she is inside - indicating that fate is like a cage. Essentially, fate is depicted as an oppressive force. The book makes a dramatic reference to these three corresponding elements: being inside, fate, and being caged in “Without Wood.” In this vignette, Rose takes several sleeping pills to force herself to fall asleep and stay inside of her house. This is a clear example of Rose’s fate of not having the strength to stand up for herself literally enclosing her inside – evidenced by her mother dictating that Rose simply did …show more content…
In the book Rose’s autonomy is what leads her to change her fate - which she believes is to not have any strength and be with Ted. This is shown in the setting of the last place she is depicted with him - outside. This implies that autonomy is more prevalent than fate, as it is the final determining factor in her relationship. In the movie, however, Rose believes her fate is to be with Ted, but as a result of being with Ted she ends up becoming autonomous and being able to speak up. This opposingly implies that fate is more powerful than autonomy, especially given that the last place she was depicted with Ted was inside. This shows that autonomy and fate, though opposing forces have an intertwining