The first time I saw the title of the film, the Joy Luck Club, I thought that it would be a film filed with joy, luck and happiness. However, out of my expectation, in the film, I saw many unpleasant things—conflicts, hardship, disappointment, sorrow, hurt, torture etc. Of course there were some moving parts, and fortunately, it was a happy ending. Anyway, I enjoyed it very much. It made me have a penetrating thinking.
The Joy Luck Club tells about the conflicts between Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-raised daughters and their struggling to understand each other. The film shows us these topics: the misunderstanding of love between the mothers and the daughters, the clash between the generations and cultures, and the struggle for the women to fight for equity. Now I am going to show you my understanding of them, emphasizing on the first topic.
In many cases, we and those we love are easy to hurt each other because of the misunderstanding of love, the conflicts in generations and culture background, or unconsciousness.
Take Jingmei and her mother Suyuan as an example. When Suyuan demands the little Jingmei to play piano, Jingmei shouts to her mother, “You can’t make me!” Even Jingmei cried that she wish she isn’t Suyuan’s daughter and Suyuan isn’t her mother, and that she wishes she were the dead like the babies Suyuan abandoned in China. The sad expression on Suyuan’s face indicates that she is hurt deeply by her daughter’s innocent words.
This reminds me of my similar experience. Once I hurt my mother as Jingmei did. I didn’t mean to hurt her, but those wounding words just slip out of my mouth unconsciously. Often, we hate that why our parents don’t know my feelings, why they like to make us be something and totally unaware that what their children are. While the parents don’t know why all their sacrifices to the children can’t be paid off, even incite hatred. Actually, this is the generation gap that causes the misunderstanding. We don’t know the hardship our parents underwent before. They can’t understand what we are thinking. So misunderstandings appear.
Maybe as a child, Jingmei cannot comprehend what her remarks mean to Suyuan, and just want to show her grudge. But another main reason is the different backgrounds of Suyuan and Jingmei bare. Chinese parents always like to put all their hopes on the next generation for they are the generation full with hardship and pain. All they do just want the children to be better, but they ignore that whether their children can accept or not, not along a child born in America, influenced by the American’s individual freedom and knowing little about Chinese culture. The generation gap and culture conflict cause the misunderstanding of the mother and the daughter.
The other example is Waverly and her mother Lindo. Waverly tries her best to please Lindo in everything. Whether her mother approves or not becomes the master of all her choice. Even Waverly marries a Chinese man because Lindo likes Chinese, while she doesn’t love. Waverly doesn’t understand why Lindo disapprove or criticize whatever she has done. On the other side, Lindo thinks that her daughter is ashamed of her, which is her continual internal injury after Waverly’s winning that chess contest, when Waverly shouted to Lindo if Lindo wanted to show off, won the chest by herself. Every time, Lindo’s disagreement with or indifference to Waverly directly results from the thought that Waverly feels it shameful to be her daughter. Both of them deeply love each other, but in the meantime, they hostile and hurt one another. This is the way them get along with each other. Fortunately, they clear up their misunderstandings and discover themselves by communicating.
I am deeply moved by this scene:
Waverly Jong says to Lindo, sobbing,, “You don't know, you don't know the power you have over me. One word from you, one look, and I'm four years old again, crying myself to sleep, because nothing I do can ever, ever please you.” And after a short period of silence, Lindo smiles to Waverly with tears in her eyes, “Now, you make me happy.” Then they laugh heartily, teary-eyed with happiness.
Seeing the old Lindo bursts out laughing, like a child, and Waverly laughs joyfully, I sincerely feel delighted for them. Love needs communicating, understanding, and tolerance, which is what I learn from them.
Along with above mentioned, the struggle for the women to fight for equity is also brought to the surface. For instance, Ying-ying encourages her daughter Lena to escape an unhappy marriage, not repeating the same mistakes she made in her first marriage. And An-mei tells her daughter Rose to learn to shout at the unfair fate, and express her own will because Rose has lost herself in her marriage. These two cases reveal that the women begin to release themselves from the restrains of being oppressed by the men and the old-fashioned thoughts as well as some Chinese traditional characters. Eventually, the women find their true value and win their own happiness.
View from the whole film, the title, the Joy Luck Club may just be the old generation’s hope of better life for the next generation. On the whole, this is a movie made specifically for women. It is worth our appreciation.