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The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan
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How many Joy Luck Clubs were there?

Suyuan has begun two different Joy Luck Clubs, one in Kweilin and one in San Francisco.

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Suyuan has started two Joy Luck Clubs in her life—one in San Francisco and one in Kweilin.

When she was living in China, Suyuan was married to an army officer and had young twin daughters. She had an idea to gather four women, including herself, together on a regular basis to share the joys and hopes of their lives. The idea was a great success, and the women ate delicious food and shared great stories, even through their times of struggles. They played mah-jongg "with seriousness" and would then talk long into the night, recalling happy memories of their pasts and focusing on the joy the future would bring them. Unfortunately, Suyuan was eventually forced to flee Kweilin when the Japanese invaded, leaving behind everything she had known—including her friends and two daughters.

Sharing life with this intimate group of women had proven so important to Suyuan that when she moved to San Franisco, she decided to begin another Joy Luck Club two years before Jing-mei was born. After arriving in America, Jing-mei's parents met the Hsus, the Jongs, and the St. Clairs at Bible study classes where they all hoped to improve their English. When Suyuan "recognized the numbness" in the faces of the wives, she shared with them her hope of beginning a new Joy Luck Club. Thus, a new club began in America.

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