Sexism in the Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club, a novel written by Amy Tan, portrays the lives of four mothers and their daughters effectively. What keeps the reader glued to the book is its realistic characters and unique way of storytelling. The story is divided into different parts and it is more like a compilation of each character’s narration.

The major characters in this book are  four mothers and their four daughters. Sayuan starts the club, The Joy Luck Club, in San Fransisco after she along with some other women were forced to move out of China due to the war. Her fellow immigrants, Lindo, Ying-ying, and An-mei are also the members of the club. They grow their daughters in America. The story deals with the conflict of cultures and the conflicts of the mothers and daughters.

Sexism definitely exist in the book in different incidents. We see this in both the cultures, American and Chinese. Lindo faces this problem when she was in China before coming to America. She was treated almost like a maid by her husband and her mother-in-law. We see sexism in the case of An-mei’s mother too. When she was raped by a man, she being a widow was forced to marry him to maintain her dignity. Though widow marrying is not seen as a good act, she had to do that to stop people from seeing her as filthy. But this is not the case with men in China. They can marry many women but are not seen as bad. This clearly shows the sexism in Chinese culture. Ying-ying too is taught not to speak but only to listen. This also shows the China culture and their view of sexism. But all the cases we see in China are because of the culture followed through all the years.

We witness sexism in America too as the young girls grow up. We first see this in the case of Waverly when she is not allowed to play chess with some old men who say that it is men’s game and that men only have the knowledge to play the game. It clearly shows the sexism in American society. In the case of China, most of the incidents showing sexism are due to culture of China but in the case of America it is the society view of men’s superiority. The same old men who stop Waverly from playing the game show their astonishment when she is very smart in her game. We see some incidents showing sexism in the cases of Rose and Lena too.

All these incidents show that sexism in very active in both Chinese and American cultures but with different approach.

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