How is there a lack of communication between the daughters and mothers in The Joy Luck Club?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Clearly the lack of communication between the daughters and mothers in this excellent novel is based upon the culture clash that occurs between them. The second generation immigrants, the daughters who are born in America, are profoundly ambivalent about their Chinese heritage and background that means so much to their mothers. In a sense, they want their Chinese background to be a private part of their lives that remains at home, as is testified by their embarrassment when their mothers speak in broken English.

Of course, the mothers look upon this from a very different perspective and fight to maintain the value of Chinese tradition in both their lives and in the lives of their daughters. The mothers want their daughters to flourish in their new home of America, but also to remember their origins and develop a distinct Chinese-American character.

It is this clash in perspective based on culture that leads to the lack of communication between the daughters and mothers, as both struggle to see the perspective of the other group. The daughters feel that their mothers are incapable of understanding what life is like for them, resulting in broken communication and damaged relationships. You can look at any one of the mother-daughter relationships to see this, but perhaps when Waverly insults her mother about the pride she takes in her daughter's chess success would be a good example to look at.