The Use Of Tradition In Parenting In The Joy Luck Club Hamilton High School, Honors Communication Arts Essay

781 words - 4 pages

“I once sacrificed my life to keep my parent's promise. This means nothing to you,
because to you, promises mean nothing”(Tan 41). In this quote from The Joy Luck Club by Amy
Tan, the mother is saying how she gave up so much to make her family proud, but her daughter
doesn’t have to do anything like that. She is also saying that the ideals and importance of
promise and tradition are gone. The fear of that happening is why Chinese mothers push tradition
and the need for success so much on their child. In The Joy Luck Club, Tan shows the use of
Chinese tradition in parenting and why the mother’s want daughters to experience hardships to
order to help the reader understand why Chinese parents are generally so strict today.
To begin, Tan writes about how the parents experienced hardships, to help the reader
understand why they challenge their children so much today. In China, arranged marriages were
very common, a tradition that Chinese daughters in America will usually not experience. In the
story The Red Candle, the mother says, “I missed my family and my stomach felt bad, knowing I
had finally arrived where my life said I belonged. But I was determined to honor my parents’
words”(Tan 49). In this book, the mother had to grow up so fast, to make her family proud, and
to be the “ideal” wife, when she was just 12. This explains why the mother, Lindo Jong, pushes
her daughter Waverly so hard, because Lindo never had a typical “American” childhood, so
therefore may not be able to understand Waverly’s want or need for it, because for Lindo, not
having a typical childhood was typical for most girls like her in China. Next, because the mother
worked so hard in China, she wanted her daughter to work hard in what she was doing, therefore
pushing her very hard. In the story, Rules of the Game, Waverly is a chess champion at a very
young age, upon winning, Waverly wrote, “My mother placed my first trophy next to a new
plastic chess that the neighborhood Tao society had given to me. As she wiped each piece with a
soft cloth, she said, “Next time, win more, lose less” (Tan, 98). This mindset is similar to that of
many Chinese mothers, for they want their child to be the best, and to keep working...

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