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In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, discuss Lindo's past experiences and how they are...

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teacher7121 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted May 26, 2011 at 9:35 AM via web

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In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, discuss Lindo's past experiences and how they are reflected in her daughter, Waverly.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 27, 2011 at 1:20 PM (Answer #1)

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In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, one of the women in the club is Lindo Jong. We are first introduced to Lindo as a two-year old, who is betrothed to her one-year old fiancé, Tyan-yu. At the age of twelve, disaster requires that Lindo leave her family to live with her future in-laws, where she is treated like a servant. She makes the best of these circumstances so as not to bring shame to her parents. However, she discovers that like the invisible wind, Lindo also has strength that no one knows about, and she promises herself that she will never forget this.

The young people marry, but Tyan-yu does not want to sleep with Lindo. After time, and some of Tyan-yu's lies, Lindo's mother-in-law becomes angry: she wants grandchildren. Lindo knows that Tyan-yu will not change, so she constructs a plan to make Tyan-yu and his mother wish for a nullification, which will allow Lindo to leave the marriage without losing her honor. Her plan works—she is given clothes and money, and eventually she makes her way to America. She again promises herself to never forget to know who she is.

Waverly is Lindo's only daughter. Waverly becomes a national- champion chess player when she is nine, and her mother is very proud of her. However, Waverly does not have the same background as her mother, and does not realize how fortunate she is. She takes everything for granted. Though Lindo has been able to teach her some things, others will come as Waverly learns to play chess, for which one must understand strategies.

For Lindo and Waverly, a common theme is "secrets" which each has gleaned as a young girl. As Waverly grows up, she and her mother struggle with each other—first over chess, and later when Waverly plans to marry Rich Schields. The things that make Lindo strong are the same things that make Waverly strong, thereby creating conflict between the two.

When Lindo learned that she had inner-strength, she hid the secret behind her wedding scarf, and never revealed that she had this "invisible strength." Waverly is the same. She tries to battle her mother's strength with her own, learned through the strategies of chess.

I discovered that for the whole game one must gather invisible strengths and see the endgame before the game begins.

I also found out why I should never reveal "why" to others. A little knowledge withheld is a great advantage one should store for future use.

Ironically, the rules that Waverly discovers on her own are the same "life truths" that Lindo learned in her first marriage. While Waverly does not want to be like her mother, she does not realize that she follows much the same path in learning about life as her mother did many years before Waverly was born.

In "Rules of the Game," Waverly admits that chess has rules for success, and secrecy is among them. This rule is what allowed Lindo to escape her first marriage. Waverly's battle to be her own person, without her mother's influence, is what keeps the two from being closer—what stops Waverly from opening up to her mother and "letting her in." In "Double Face," Lindo will manipulate Waverly (as Waverly has done to her mother) to allow Waverly to believe that she will have the last word (when Lindo purposely asks for her opinion). In truth, it is all a part of Lindo's secret knowledge of self and strategies—that Waverly seems to think, with the foolishness of youth, belong only to her.

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