The Joy Luck Club Questions and Answers
by Amy Tan

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Compare and contrast the marriage of Rose Hsu Jordan to that of Lena St. Clair in The Joy Luck Club.

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Both Lena St. Clair and Rose Hsu Jordan are in failing marriages by the third section of the novel (when the Chinese American daughters are now adult women), both women also appear in each other's stories commenting on the other woman's situation.

The marriages are similar in that both women are unhappy and feel overpowered by their husbands. In the case of Rose, it's a given because she is described as "without wood"—she is a bit of a pushover and is indecisive. On the other hand, the inequality in Lena's marriage is ironic considering the extent to which she and her husband Harold focus on balance and equality. They keep lists of what they pay for and how much of common supplies they each use. However, Lena realizes that the relationship isn't as equal as it may appear on the surface:

So really, we're equals, except that Harold makes about seven times more than what I make.

The marriage ends up seeming less like a romantic partnership and more like some sort of business deal....

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