Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Joy Luck Club
The Joy Luck Club is a best-selling novel written by Amy Tan. It focuses on four Chinese-American immigrant families who start a club known as "the Joy Luck Club," playing the Chinese game of Mah Jong for money while feasting on a variety of food. There are twelve chapters divided into four sections, and each woman, both mothers and daughters, (with the exception of one mother, Suyuan Woo, who is presented as dead from the beginning of the novel) share stories about their lives in the form of vignettes.
As the novel opens Jing-Mei "June" Woo has just lost her mother, Suyuan, to an aneurism. She is asked by her mother's three friends to take Suyuan's place in their Mah-Jong foursome and their 'Joy Luck Club.' The novel unfolds with interspersed chapters by each of the three remaining members of the Club and their American-born daughters. Lindo and Waverly Jong began their war over Waverly's childhood chess stardom and now it continues into every aspect of Waverly's adult life. An-Mei Hsu recounts the tragedy that gave her strength, and worries that her daughter, Rose, lacks the same determination. Lena St. Clair tries to care for her eccentric mother, while her mother recounts a secret history that has allowed her to see more deeply than her daughter imagines. Through it all, June Woo tries to piece together the stories that her own mother can no longer tell, and to be faithful to her mother's memory despite their sometimes rocky relationship.
In 1993, the novel was made into a feature film directed by Wayne Wang and starring Ming-Na, Lauren Tom, Mei Juan Xi and Vivian Wu with screenplay by Amy Tan, herself. When the film premiered, there were several protests across the United States by members of the Chinese American communities, due to negative portrayals of traditional Chinese society and Asian males.
Characters of The Joy Luck Club
- Suyuan Woo
- An-mei Hsu
- Lindo Jong - Lindo is a woman whose strong will is attributed by her daughter Waverly to having been born in the year of the Horse. When she was only twelve, she was wedded to a neighbor's young son Huang Tyuan Yi. She began to love her husband as a brother, but her cold mother-in-law was greedy for a grandson, and began to restrict Lindo. However, through careful observation of her surroundings, Lindo was cleverly able to escape her marriage unharmed and immigrate to America.
- Ying-ying St. Clair
- Jing-mei Woo
- Rose Hsu Jordan
- Waverly Jong
- Lena St. Clair
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