The Joy Luck Club Questions and Answers
by Amy Tan

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Identify the theme of the chapter entitled, "The Moon Lady" in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club.  

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There are several themes in Amy Tan's chapter entitled "The Moon Lady," from The Joy Luck Club. The overall theme seems to relate to finding one's place in the world.

The speaker in this chapter is Ying-ying St. Clair, Lena's mother. Ying-ying believes that her daughter has lost sight of what is important because Ying-ying has lost sight.

The disconnect between Ying-ying and Lena is strongly stated at the beginning of the chapter:

...because I remained silent for so long now my daughter does not hear me...All these years I have kept my true nature hidden, running along like a small shadow so nobody could catch me. And because I moved so secretly now my daughter does not see me...And I want to tell her this: We are lost, she and I, unseen and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others.

Ying-ying believes that she has lost herself because she has forgotten who she was as a child, lost her faith in the world—and has become distanced from the experiences that changed her then. Because of these things, she has failed to allow her daughter to see and hear her.

At the age of four, during the Moon Festival, Ying-ying falls into the water and is separated from her family. Taken to the shore to wait for someone to come for her, Ying-ying sees a play about the Moon Lady—told behind screens—showing only shadows. At the end of the play, when Ying-ying goes to share her wish, she realizes that the Moon Lady was not what she appeared to be, but really a man in a costume—not a "wish granter."

During her lifetime, Ying-ying has also felt like a shadow: not a whole person. She fears she may have passed her lack of identity onto her...

(The entire section contains 594 words.)

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