Memory And Storytelling In Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club


V. Uluslararası Batı Kültürü ve Edebiyatları Araştırmaları Sempozyumu, Sivas, Turkey, 4 September - 06 October 2017

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Sivas
  • Country: Turkey
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes



Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1989) is a novel that explores Chinese-American experience and the relationship between Chinese mothers and their American-born daughters living in San Francisco, CA. In this study, memories of Chinese mothers and the way they function in Amy The Joy Luck Club will be analyzed. The novel includes memories narrated by mothers, and it will be argued that Amy Tan consciously uses these stories to address the issue of language and generation gap that functions as a barrier between mothers and their daughters. It is seen that the mothers and the daughters of the novel manage to establish a sound communication only through the mothers’ stories of personal experience. When the mothers and daughters misunderstand each other in spite of their “good intentions”, the stories operate in a healing way; that is, orality serves as an important tool to lead to reconciliation in a setting where ‘literacy’ does not function properly. Apart from helping the daughters understand their mothers better, the heartbreaking but valuable memories of the mothers remind the daughters of their ancestors and culture in China, and thus serve as a bond to their background. The stories do not only shed a light on the mothers’ past but also shape the daughters’ fate. After ‘hearing’ the stories, daughters draw lessons that allow them to manage the problems they face in their private lives.