What are good songs to connect to the Jong family in The Joy Luck Club?What are good songs to connect to the Jong family in The Joy Luck Club?

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think a song that I might choose that reflects the relationship between Lindo and her daughter Waverly is the duet between Miley Cyrus and her father Billy Ray Cyrus, called "I Learned From You." The song would particularly refer to the realizations that each has about the other by the story's end. Lindo thinks she has not taught her daughter to have a strong "Chinese character." She is surprised to learn that this is not true: that her daughter has learned to handle herself with others the way Lindo does, with a strong silence.

At the same time, though Lindo believes she has nothing in common with her mother and the relationship between them has been strained for many years, when Lindo meets Waverly's "Caucasian" fiance Rich, Waverly realizes that she is much more like her mother than she might have supposed, and that this is not a bad thing—her mother's ability to hide her true feelings has become Waverly's as well, and has contributed in making her a successful adult.

The exchange of information and life-knowledge has taken place while neither woman seemed to realize it.

Miley Cyrus sings:

I didn't want to listen to what you were saying

I thought that I knew all I need to know...

Her dad, Billy Ray, sings:

We always don't agree on what is the best way

To get to a place that we're going from here...

And they both sing...

I'm grateful for all the times

You opened my eyes...

By the end of the story, both Lindo and Waverly's eyes have been opened to how much alike they are, but moreover, how each has been surprised by the value in the strength of the other.



scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the first songs that comes to mind in connection to Lindo and Waverly Jong is Kelly Clarkston's "Miss Independent." Both mother and daughter are clever and devise ways from a young age to assert their independence. As a young teen, Lindo successfully relies upon Chinese superstitions to extricate herself from her undesirable arranged marriage. When she moves to America, she stands out from many of her Chinese-American counterparts because she wants to raise her children differently. Waverly inherits her mother's independent nature and experiences conflict with Lindo most of her life because of their clash of wills (each woman believes that her way is the right and only way).

While "Miss Independent" primarily discusses someone shutting out romantic love because of her longing for freedom, it can also apply to Lindo and Waverly's relationship. In Verse 2 of the song, the speaker states,

"So, by changing a misconception / She went in a new direction."

Lines such as this mirror Waverly's willingness to confront her mother (about her white boyfriend Rick) and to realize that she and Lindo are not that different.