Jing-mei (June) feels that her parents’ heritage causes them (mostly her mother) to hold unrealistic expectations of her. She is constantly being told that a Chinese daughter does this, or acts like this. She feels like her identity is a fight between her Chinese side and her American side. She does not have good communication with her mother, so she does not understand the family background and what her mother has gone through.
Ultimately, it is a culture shock for each of the ladies in The Joy Luck Club. The mothers are trying to make it in their new country while still maintaining their culture, and the daughters are trying to find a balance between their American and Chinese selves.