Professor Stephen Zillwood
Essay Final Draft
The soundless love
The novel, The Joy Luck Club, describes different stories about 4 pair of Chinese mothers and their American-born daughters. Jing-mei and Suyuan are the most important characters in the novel. Suyuan, the mother, puts all her hopes and concentrate on Jing-mei. She hoped that Jing-mei could as beautiful as a beautiful swan and helped her find another two daughters in China. Whereas, Jing-mei who was born in America dose not understand her mother due to she was influenced by western society. In contrast, her mom was deeply affected by traditional Chinese culture. As a result, there is a culture difference, which gives more challenges to display their love between Jing-mei and Suyuan. Both of them imply the impropriate way that both of them fail to express their thoughts and emotions. The love between Jing-mei Woo and Suyuan is not expressed directly through words but actions. Suyuan make great sacrifices for the love of Jing-mei. Jing-mei does that also. It does not mean they never talk to each other but to sacrifice them and the way they love each other cross culture. They never say I love you directly instead of doing things indirectly.
The culture difference plays a significant role in the relationship between Suyuan and Jing-mei. When after they watched The Ed Sullivan Show, Suyuan slapped Jing-mei and said, “Who ask you be genius? Only you be your best. For you sake. You think I want you be genius?” (200). What Suyuan did is not because she was angry about Jing-mei but disappointed. In Chinese traditional cultural, beating is a sign of love. In china, her action is very common as majority Chinese parents do. But for Jing-mei who was grew in western society, which beating is representing the violence and is an incorrect education method. As a result, she cannot understand why her mother treats her in that way. Suyuan was used an inappropriate Chinese-education method to show her expectation. She tried to use Chinese way to force Jing-mei to learn; her words did not express what she really wants her daughter to know. Growing up under the influence of America society, Jing-mei only has Chinese appearance not value and mind. She just want to be herself. Jing-mei said, “You want me to be someone that I’m not! I’ll never be the kind of daughter you want me to be.”(209). These words are indeed harmful to Suyuan. She cannot understand why her mother wants to make her like someone else and talent.
Communication is the glue to hold the love between each pair of mother and daughter. But the love between Suyuan and Jing-mei is lack of communication. Although they use action try to show their love to each other but not effective as communication. When people were picking up crabs, only two crabs left. Jing-mei wants to choose the missing leg crab and leave the better one for her mother. Suyuan said “No! No! Big one, you eat it, I cannot finish.” (115). Although mother knew a missing leg crab means bad luck in Chinese culture, she would rather have it herself than let her daughter has. The maternal love is not expressed directly but it shows that mother tried her best to provide the best quality life to her child. After everybody left from the crab dinner, Suyuan gives the pendant to Jing-mei and she said, “For a long time, I wanted to give you this necklace. See, I wore this on my skin, so when you put it on your skin, then you know my meaning. This is your life’s importance.”(118). In china, pendant usually means a lot to a person. Suyuan wants to pass her most important thing, which contains her love and faith, to her daughter. She called it life’s importance. But Suyuan did not tell