The Joy Luck Club is a representation of the persistent tensions and powerful bonds between mother and daughter in a Chinese American society. The book illustrates the hardships both the mother and daughters go through in order to please the other. Also, it shows the troubles the daughters face when growing up in two cultures. This book reveals that most of the time mothers really do know best. In “Rules of the Game” we see a mother daughter conflict.
Waverly’s mother is always showing her off because she is a national chess champion. Waverly takes this as being exploited by her own mother because she was raised in a society with more American influence than Chinese. In a Chinese society a woman’s social standing is measured by how successful your children are and also how well you care for your spouse. Because of this, Waverly’s mother boasts about Waverly’s mastery of the game of chess.
Throughout all of the Jing-Mei Woo stories June has to recall all of the memories of what her mother had told her. She remembers how her mother left her babies during the war. June’s mother felt that since she had failed as a mother to her first babies she had failed as a person. When she made June take piano lessons June thought that she was trying to make her become a child prodigy like Waverly, but her mother did this because she knew it would benefit June for the rest of her life.
Because of the death of her mother, June was forced to take the place of her mother in more than just filling her place at the Maj Jong table. The mother daughter tradition was broken because the lost babies were found after the death of their mother. June’s trip to China can be seen as the completion of her mother’s promise to return, honoring her sisters by attempting to transfer what she had absorbed from her mother and her tradition. “And I think, My mother is right.
I am becoming Chinese”(Tan 306). This is what June thinks as she crosses into China. Like the Taoist Yin/Yang symbol, June and her mother have become two of the same thing. The only difference being their thoughts, June with American, her mother with Chinese. This has kept the mother-daughter tradition alive but has also weakened it. This happens often, but there is always something that sticks and is passed down from generation from generation.