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The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan

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How does Jing-Mei's attitude toward her mother change in the final chapter of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan?

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In the final chapter of The Joy Luck Club , the main character, Jing-mei, chooses to embrace and take on her mother's Chinese identity. Jing-mei is attempting to write her mother's story. She is battling a cultural gap throughout the story, as she was raised in the US and her...

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In the final chapter of The Joy Luck Club, the main character, Jing-mei, chooses to embrace and take on her mother's Chinese identity. Jing-mei is attempting to write her mother's story. She is battling a cultural gap throughout the story, as she was raised in the US and her mother was raised in China. Jing-mei describes her dislike for her mother's Chinese culture growing up. As a teenager, Jing-mei leaned into assimilation and resisted her mother's Chinese teachings. She didn't understand her mother's way of life and preferred to spend her time with her white friends. As an adult, Jing-mei begins to want to learn more about her heritage and her mother's life. Throughout the novel, Jing-mei attempts to reconcile this gap and gain a closer understanding of her mother. She does just that when she travels to China and meets her half-sisters. Here she narrows the gap and brings the two worlds together.

In the final chapter she states,

The minute our train leaves the Hong Kong border and enters Shenzhen, China, I feel different. I can feel the skin on my forehead tingling, my blood rushing through a new course, my bones aching with a familiar old pain. And I think, My mother was right.

In this final chapter, Jing-mei embraces her mother and the Chinese identity she represents. The character says,

But today I realize I've never really known what it means to be Chinese.

The story ends with Jing-mei embracing her sisters and understanding for the first time how much she is like her mother.

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In the final chapter of the novel, Jing Mei comes to accept her mother's premise about being Chinese. As she prepares to meet her half-sisters, she finds that she can finally revel in being both Chinese and American.

So, there was no doubt in her mind, whether I agreed or not: Once you are born Chinese, you cannot help but feel and think Chinese. "Someday you will see," said my mother. "It is in your blood, waiting to be let go."

Jing Mei's attitude towards her mother begins to change when she hears the true story of how Suyuan had to leave her twin girls behind decades earlier. After fleeing Kweilin, Suyuan had tried to get to Chungking, where her husband was stationed. However, her physical suffering eventually made traveling on foot all but impossible.

Suyuan was suffering from dysentery pains; additionally, she was hungry, exhausted, and thirsty. In the end, to make sure that her babies survived, she had had to leave them behind. Suyuan was to have a rude awakening when she got to Chungking, however; her husband had died two weeks earlier. Bereft of both her babies and husband, she had vowed not to rest until she found her daughters again.

In continuing her mother's quest, Jing Mei comes to see how much Suyuan had loved each of her daughters. When she sees her half-sisters at the airport, she sees her mother's image in their faces. Just as she did everything she could to preserve her twin daughters' lives, Suyuan also taught Jing Mei how to value her Chinese heritage. Jing Mei's attitude towards her mother begins to change to one of respect and deep appreciation after she realizes how much her mother had sacrificed for her and her sisters when she was alive.

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