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The Joy Luck Club: Journal Entry 1

The Joy Luck Club is the story of four women, who immigrated from China to America, and each one's American raised daughter. The Joy Luck Club is what brings these four women together. It is what they call their circle of four people who play mah jong. The sixteen chapters are divided up and two chapters are dedicated to each of the eight women. So far I have read one chapter for each woman.

Each chapter contains a separate story, from the perspective of the person who's chapter it is. I found each story to be equally interesting because each one offers a different view on life and tries to leave the reader with a message.

The story that had the most meaning to me so far, is the chapter entitled "Rules of the Game." It is about a girl who falls in love with the game of chess. She practices constantly and becomes incredible at it at the young age of ten. She enters contests and consistently wins. However, she picks an argument with her mother. Then the chapter ends with Waverly Jong sad. "Everything below me disappeared and I was alone," she said (p. 103). When I put the book down I found myself pondering what the outcome of this cliffhanger would be. For most people silly arguments blow over quickly. However, my instincts make me think that things will never be the same for Waverly Jong.

One chapter really outlined the differences between a life in China in comparison to one in America. It was the story of Waverly Jong's mother, Lindo and what led up to her departure from China. Lindo was forced to marry a man who she hardly new. At a very young age she had to move in with his family. She did not feel that they accepted her because they did not treat her like she was their daughter. In contrast, they treated her like a servant, making her work extremely hard in order to care for her husband. When she married her husband, it was Chinese tradition to light a red candle. If the candle stayed lit throughout the night, it meant that the couple would have an excellent marriage. The morning after Lindo's wedding, the matchmaker (who set her up with her husband) said that the candle had stayed lit. However, Lindo knew this was a lie because she had seen the candle go out the night before. "My throat filled with so much hope that it finally burst and blew out my husband's end of the candle," she described (p. 56). This made her depressed but she could not tell her family because they would not believe her. So eventually when it was very evident to her that her husband wanted no part in the marriage, she devised an elaborate plan to get out of it. It proved to be successful and due to Chinese superstitions, Lindo was able to leave the household. This chapter taught me a lot about the Chinese culture. It went through all the marriage rituals and covered the day to day routine for women in China. I found the knowledge base to be interesting.

The main character in the book is Jing-Mei Woo. She tells the story for four chapters because her mother has died. It is her mother who created the Joy Luck Club and therefore Jing-Mei has a large responsibility to be articulate since she must describe her mother's life. Jing-Mei represents the bridge between two generations. One which she is a part of, and the other which is needs to find an understanding of, and now has the opportunity because she is taking her mother's place in the Joy Luck Club. I look forward to completing this book in order to find out how the lives of all these women turn out.

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