The Joy Luck Club is a collection of short stories about mothers and daughters and their struggles to understand each other. While all mothers and daughters must overcome generational barriers, the mothers and daughters in this novel must also overcome cultural barriers. Because the mothers are all first-generation immigrants from China, they deal with very specific problems that relate to their upbringings. The mothers, who were brought up in strong moral households with a deep-rooted sense of "family first," contrast greatly with their daughters' American idea of "looking out for number one." This novel is filled with examples of mothers teaching their daughters both morals and life lessons, which sometimes contrasts with the American values that their daughters have learned. These lessons are often difficult for the daughters to accept, but the mothers press on in their attempts to teach, with the hopes that their daughters will one day understand the information that is being presented to them. And I’m going to talk about the misunderstanding they had from two examples.
At an early age, An-mei Hsu learns lessons in stoic and severe love from her grandmother, Popo, and from her mother. Her mother also teaches her to swallow her tears, to conceal her pain, and to distrust others. Although An-mei later learns to speak up and assert herself, she fears that she has handed down a certain passivity to her daughter Rose.