The Joy Luck Club Questions and Answers
by Amy Tan

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What is the power of storytelling in The Joy Luck Club?

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The power of storytelling in a central theme in Amy Tan's novel The Joy Luck Club. Storytelling in The Joy Luck Club serves as an intergenerational and intercultural link between the mothers and daughters: it is a means through which to pass on knowledge and experience, despite cultural, language, and age barriers.

For the daughters in the novel, storytelling allows them to understand their mothers. The stories the mothers tell provide insight into their hidden pasts, helping the daughters understand their mothers' motivations, the rise and fall of their expectations, and how the trials they endured affect their perceptions of the world. This insight provides clarity for the daughters as they realize that their mothers' actions were not driven by anger or disappointment, but rather by the consequences of heartbreaking events in their own lives.

The use of storytelling also reflects the history of oral storytelling in Chinese culture. This practice is over a thousand years old, and (like in

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Stories are an unique and authentic human experiences. They are timeless links and connects us to a larger self. Stories are how we explain the way things work, how we make decisions, how we justify our decisions, and allow people to communicate. They allow us to show meaning and emotion. Stories help us understand ourselves better.