What evidence in The Joy Luck Club  suggests that Popo was a good mother, not only to An-Mei and her brother, but to her daughter, An-mei's mother?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is clear that Popo is a good mother to her child and grandchildren, but is bound by traditional notions of the good life.

Early on in the narrative, An- Mei indicates that Popo might appear to be uncaring.  However, she is quite the opposite:

Many times Popo said aloud to all who could hear that my brother and I had fallen out of the bowels of a stupid goose, two eggs that nobody wanted, not even good enough to crack over rice porridge. She sad this so that he ghosts would not steal us away.  So you see, to Popo we were also very precious.

Popo is a good mother in how she cares for her grandchildren.  She is immersed in tradition.  However, even though she feels her daughter has violated traditional maternal roles, Popo does not send her grandchildren out. She cares for them and raises them.  Popo reads stories that have morals to them in the hope of developing the children's characters.  Popo actively takes a role in An- Mei's life and does not treat the children as "second best."

Indeed, Popo is harsh to An- Mei's mother.  An- Mei's mother does not have a choice in the life she led, making Popo's words and deeds even harsher. Tradition compels her to say such things to her daughter.  Yet, when An Mei's mother demonstrates the tenets of a good daughter to the dying Popo, it is clear that there is a relationship between both of them.  Popo has been such a good mother to her daughter that even with all that has happened, there is a bond between them.  Popo had something to do with that.  As An- Mei's mother cuts her flesh to try to cure her mother, it is clear that Popo and she share a bond. While tradition might have interrupted that connection, it did not sever it.  

The depth of the mother- daughter bond is clear.  It enables the reader to understand that there must have been a profound connection between both of them.  To make that sacrifice can only be done if it has been nurtured over time.  This becomes the evidence which proves that Popo was a good mother to her daughter as well as her grandchildren.

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The Joy Luck Club

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