The American lifestyle In Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan



The American way of life has many different ways to look at it, but the most common trait among Americans is the idea of individualism. Although individualism receives high praises, it omes with flaws and sacrifices. She uses the relationships between immorgant mothers and American born daughters to showcase the flaws of American ideologies. Amy Tan uses storytelling and storytellers in Joy Luck Club to show that American Indivisualism creates mindsets where people only think about whats in their own little world and become blind to the insites of those around them.

Tan shows that the American daughters struggle with their lives because of their self-centered ways of thinking through how they tell their stories. When Waverly comes home, after the fight with her mother, she only concentrates on her own emotions, and shows no remorse for her actions. She does not consider how her mother is feeling or how her actions and words can effect others. Waverly simply “closed my[her] eyes and pondered my[her] next move”(103). Which imply’s that she is only focusing on her own needs and wants, In addition, her rising success as a chess protoge fuels her self-centerd behaviors. As she improves and wins she comes to think she is all that matters. All Waverly has to do to get what she wants is to “complain” about it, her parents are serving her every whim(101). However, because she’s only focusing on hersellf she is no longer observing the information that exists outside of her individual bubble. Soon after her fight Waverly announces she is quitting chess, but this is an obvious power play to get what she want’s. However, even when she starts up chess again she “could no longer see the secret weapons of each piece,” now she could only see “my[her] mistakes, my[her] weaknesses”(190). Waverly only see’s her mistakes, her “weakness” she’s only looks at herself, she’s not trying to find the opponents weaknesses. Since she confines herself in her own individual bubble she can no longer see the truths that lye outside her own space. In order to see “secret weapons” hidden in he world, a person must be observant of everything , not just themselves. This shows just how detrimental it is to confine oneself to individual wants and needs, how it makes life harder than it needs to be.

Tan continues to use the storytellers viewpoints to show negative effects of the American ideology of individualism with the outside perspectives that the mothers provide. Ying-ying, mother of Lena, expresses her frustration that Lena “will not listen”, she hears what her mother says but she’s actively discrgareds her mothers wisdom(275). Ying-ying tries to import wisdom to her daughter whenever she get’s the chance to, but Lena is so saturated in her own self inteast that Ying-ying compares her to “a bottomless pond”(274). When something is “bottomless” there is no end, which Ying-ting uses to imply that no matter what she says to Lena it never sinks in. Instead, it just keeps sinking and sinking. Furthermore, it infers that the “pond” will never fill up, so no matter how much effort Ying-ying puts in, she will never get anywhere with Lena(274).