Is it fair to judge someone by their sex? In traditional Chinese culture, many judgments were made about a person just by observing their sex. The women was looked upon as an inferior being. They had little or no status in society, and little was expected from them. They were discriminated against when they tried to stand up for themselves. Chinese culture was customarily male dominated. The male was expected to do most of the work, and the woman was expected to stay at home with their mouth shut. This custom leaves an unwelcome feeling in a woman’s heart. They feel like nobody cares, and it makes it much harder to live with an optimistic view on life.
In the novel, The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, Ann-Mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying Ying St. Clair are all women who grow up in a traditional China, where there is sexism. They deal with serious problems that corrupt their lives. Through perseverance and the passing of time their lives return to normal.
Ann-Mei, Lindo, and Ying Ying subjugated by males because of their sex, and Chinese tradition. Ann-Mei is oppressed in many ways. Her mother is invited to spend time at the home of a wealthy merchant named Wu Tsing. During the night he comes into Ann-Mei’s mother’s room and rapes her. Despite emotionally scaring Ann-Mei this demonstrates the lack of respect for a woman in China.
Ann-Mei’s mother is forced into concubinage because of her lack of power as a women. She becomes the third wife. As a third wife she maintains very little status in the home of Wu Tsing. Ann-Mei’s family disowns her mother because by becoming a third wife she has brought shame to her family. “When I was a young girl in China, my grandmother told me my mother was a ghost”. Ann-Mei is told to forget about her mother and move on in her life. The fact that Ann-Mei is told to forget her mother because she has become something she could not control, is preposterous. She was raped and forced into concubinage. The lack of appreciation for a female causes this feeling of shame for the Mei family. Since rape and polygamy is accepted in China, it makes it appear that what Ann-Mei’s mother has done is wrong, and what Wu Tsing did was right or normal.
Comparing Social Expectations in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Huckleberry Finn
Social Expectations in Joy Luck Club and Huckleberry Finn
Of the many novels written in recent history, perhaps two of the most of these society expectant novels are Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, and Mark Twain’s The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. These books present the views of society very well, yet at the same time, differentiating very much from each other.
In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, a boy takes an incredible voyage down the river, representing life’s journey. This voyage takes Huck Finn through many places, and demands him to make good moral decisions along the way, regardless of what society thinks. In the process of the story, Huck Finn learns that although society is usually correct in his eyes, he must learn to make decisions that he knows deviate from the values of society, yet he also learns that his decisions are morally correct.
In a different perspective, The Joy Luck Club sheds an different light on societies expectations, partly because of the different ethnicities involved in these two stories. The societal demands on the characters in the Joy Luck Club are very different from the ones expressed in Twain’s novel. While the characters in The Joy Luck Club are Chinese immigrants, the characters involved in Twain’s novel are White Americans, with the exception of Jim, the Black slave Huck learns to befriend. In critiquing these two novels, one notices that these two novels are in fact very different from each other, especially so in the aspects of societal expectations.
In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, the main conflict that comes up is that of the issue of slavery. The society in this novel does not even consider slavery to be wrong, while Huck Finn continues to shun slavery more and more, as the book unfolds. This very belief Huck Finn beholds is evident, with his ever growing friendship with Jim, a slave in the novel. While society sees Jim as property, Huck can discriminate, and sees past the societal ploy for ethical mistreat on another human being, more specifically on an entire race. In this same novel, other societal expectation are present, and noticeable. This is evident through Huck’s education. Society expects him to be educated, while Huck resents this all the while (Twain 20,21). In this expectation of Huck by society, there can be found no wrong.