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Mother-Daughter Conflict in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club

We live in a mobile and global world with the development of the technology. Still America continues to be the symbol of the land of freedom and of opportunity. Arriving to America, the Chinese immigrants who come from a traditional, structured, old world struggle to find a balance in a modern and dynamic new world. In order to realize the American dream, the first generation of immigrants have to learn the language, acquire education, and assimilate into the dominant culture. They courageously leave the past behind except what they carry in their memory. Thus, immigrants often experience shock and resistance in dealing with the new world culture. This is especially true for the second generation Chinese-Americans who resist and are ashamed of their heritage. Amy Tan in The Joy Luck Club dramatizes this conflict which arises between the first and the second generations through sixteen stories of four mothers and four American-born daughters. Tan succeeds in showing the strength of the mother-daughter bond from China to America despite the cultural and linguistic differences between Chinese mothers and Chinese-Americans daughther through the immigrant narrative.

The Chinese culture is based on Confucius, whose teachings are more practical and ethical than religious. Confucius’ virtues include righteousness, propriety, integrity, and filial piety toward parents, living and dead. His teachings also emphasize obedience to the father figure, to the husband, and to the eldest son after the passing of the husband. Thus, the role of women is one of subordination to men. In a family the male figure maintains an absolute power over his familial matters. Whereas in America, gender does not have the same bearing on the cultural trad…

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…ily but also to her motherland China. She is fulfilling her mother’s dream of coming home when she said “I am going to China” (Tan 307).

Works Cited

Liu Wu-Chi. “A Short History of Confucian Philosophy” Hyperion Press, 1955.

Edwards, Jami. Rev of “The Joy Luck Club,” by Amy Tan. The Book Report, Inc. 1999.

Shear, Walter. “Generational Differences and the Diaspora.” Critique Spring 1993: 193-199. Web. 28 Aug. 2015.

Standley, Anne P. “Maxine Hong Kingston.” Notable Asian Americans. Ed. Helen Zia and Susan B. Gall. New York: Gale Research Inc., 1995: 164-6.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Vintage Contemporaries. New York: A Division of Random House, Inc. 1993.

Xu, Ben. “Memory and the Ethnic Self: Reading Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.” Melus. V19. Spring 1994: 3-18.

Hamlet – the Irony

Hamlet – the Irony

The existence of considerable irony within the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet is a fact recognized by most literary critics. This paper will examine the play for instances of irony and their interpretation by critics.

In his essay “O’erdoing Termagant” Howard Felperin comments on Hamlet’s “ironic consciousness” of the fact that he is unable to quickly execute the command of the ghost:

Our own intuition of the creative or re-creative act that issued in the play also assumes a struggle with the literary past, but one of a more complex nature. It would seem to be Hamlet who is unable to impose successfully the model of an old play upon the intractable material of his present life, and Shakespeare who dramatizes with unfailing control the tragic conflict between his heroic effort to do so and his ironic consciousness that it cannot be done, with the inevitable by-products of hesitation and delay. (107-108)

Right at the outset of the drama, there is irony exhibited in the manner in which Shakespeare characterizes King Claudius – he is simply the perfect ruler – and yet, shortly hereafter when the ghost appears, he is revealed as a truly evil sort. George Lyman Kittredge, in his book, Five Plays of Shakespeare, describes the Bard’s excellent characterization of Claudius:

King Claudius is a superb figure – almost as great a dramatic creation as Hamlet himself. His intellectual powers are of the highest order. He is eloquent – formal when formality is appropriate (as in the speech from the throne), graciously familiar when familiarity is in place (as is his treatment of the family of Polonius), persuasive to an almost superhuman degree (as in his manipulation of the i…

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…go: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

Rose, Mark. “Reforming the Role.” Modern Critical Interpretations: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.

Rosenberg, Marvin. “Laertes: An Impulsive but Earnest Young Aristocrat.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Masks of Hamlet. Newark, NJ: Univ. of Delaware P., 1992.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. No line nos.

Wright, Louis B. and Virginia A. LaMar. “Hamlet: A Man Who Thinks Before He Acts.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed. Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar. N. p.: Pocket Books, 1958.

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