What are the key differences shown in the movie between the book The Joy Luck Club and the movie directed by Wayne Wang?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The key differences between the novel The Joy Luck Club and the 1993 film version directed by Wayne Wang have to do with the narrative sequencing of the story.  The Joy Luck Club is a dense novel depicting the stories of eight characters in mother-daughter pairs.  Many scenes from the novel are left out of the film because attempting to include it all would burden the film.  Further, the narrative voice in the chapters in the novel alternate among the various characters and the stories are relayed in varying order.  For example, Jing-Mei (June) tells the reader about her failure at the piano competition in one chapter of the novel and in another chapter she discusses the dinner during which she left the best quality crab for others to eat.  However, these two stories are combined in the film as June discusses how she feels like a failure to her mother.  Other stories and scenes from the novel are similarly combined in the film to provide a more consistent portrayal of events for a viewing audience.  As a reader, one can piece together a fragmented story line; however, a viewer has a much more difficult time performing such a task.