The Joy Luck Club Characters

Amy Tan

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Suyuan Woo

Suyuan Woo, the founder of the Joy Luck Club, which meets monthly to play mah-jongg. In fleeing from a Japanese attack in 1944, she was forced to abandon her twin infant daughters on a road outside Kweilin. She searched for them until 1949, when she immigrated to San Francisco with her second husband. Her daughter Jing-mei was born in 1951. Suyuan secretly continued looking for her other daughters until her death at the age of seventy-two, two months before the book opens.

Jing-mei (June) Woo

Jing-mei (June) Woo, a thirty-six-year-old college dropout who writes advertising copy for a small ad agency in San Francisco. After her mother’s death, she learns that she has two half sisters still alive in China. By setting out to meet them, she begins coming to terms with her own Chinese heritage.

Lindo Jong

Lindo Jong, Suyuan’s competitive and critical best friend, who was born in 1918 in a village near Taiyuan. A marriage was arranged for her when she was two, and she joined her husband’s family when she was twelve. Eventually, she tricked her mother-in-law into dissolving the marriage. After immigrating to San Francisco, she worked in a fortune cookie factory with An-mei Hsu, who introduced her to her second husband, Tin Jong. They have three children: Winston, who is killed in a car accident at the age of sixteen, Vincent, and Waverly.

Waverly Jong

Waverly Jong, a thirty-six-year-old divorcee with a five-year-old daughter, Shoshana. Waverly is a tax attorney in San Francisco. When she was nine years old, she won national attention as a chess champion. She is insecure and fears that her mother will reject her new fiancé.

An-mei Hsu

An-mei Hsu, the wife of George Hsu and mother of Janice, Ruth, Rose, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Bing. Born in 1914, she was reared by her grandmother in Ningpo until she was nine. Her mother, the widow of a respected scholar, brought disgrace on herself by becoming the third concubine of Wu Tsing, a rich merchant in Tientsin, and she eventually poisoned herself. An-mei worries that her daughter Rose will not see the choices open to her.

Rose Hsu Jordan

Rose Hsu Jordan, the third of An-mei’s seven children. When she was fourteen, she saw her four-year-old brother Bing fall off a pier at a family outing and felt responsible for his death. In college, she married Ted Jordan, a dermatologist, whom she allowed to make all the decisions in their marriage. When Ted announces that he wants a divorce after fifteen years, Rose must figure out how to stand up for what she wants.

Ying-ying St. Clair

Ying-ying St. Clair, the wife of an American man who calls her “Betty.” Born in 1914 in Wushi to a wealthy family, she was married at sixteen to a philanderer who abandoned her, causing her to induce the abortion of her first child. She married Clifford St. Clair in 1946, after the death of her first husband. They have a daughter, Lena, and a son who dies at birth.

Lena St. Clair

Lena St. Clair, a thirty-six-year-old designer at her husband’s architectural firm. After college, she married self-centered and success-oriented Harold Livotny and inspired him to start his own business. After five years of marriage, he still splits their expenses down the middle even though he makes seven times as much as she does.

The Joy Luck Club Characters

The main characters in this novel are four women: China-born Suyuan Woo, An-Mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-ying St. Clair; and their four...

(The entire section is 288 words.)

The Joy Luck Club Character Analysis

The Joy Luck Club An-Mei Hsu

An-Mei empowers her daughter, Rose, to stand up for her rights. Having grown up fearful of the people around her and being accustomed to...

(The entire section is 248 words.)

The Joy Luck Club Lindo Jong

Lindo Jong tries to instill in her daughter, Waverly, a sense of both obedience and self-worth. She wants her daughter to have "American...

(The entire section is 240 words.)

The Joy Luck Club Waverly Jong

Waverly Jong is the figure to whom Jing-Mei is always compared by her mother, Suyuan Woo. Waverly's mother, Lindo, and Suyuan were best...

(The entire section is 431 words.)

The Joy Luck Club Rose Hsu Jordan

Rose Hsu Jordan, the daughter of An-Mei Hsu, marries Ted Jordan in defiance of their parents. Typically passive by nature, Rose takes charge...

(The entire section is 252 words.)

The Joy Luck Club Lena St. Clair

Lena St. Clair grew up worrying about the mental health of her mother, Ying-Ying, who constantly battles paranoia and depression. While her...

(The entire section is 244 words.)

The Joy Luck Club Ying-Ying St. Clair

Ying-Ying, mother of Lena, experiences periods of depression and paranoia. She considers herself "lost" and attributes the cause of her...

(The entire section is 294 words.)

The Joy Luck Club Jing-Mei Woo

Jing-Mei (Also called June Woo), daughter of Suyuan Woo, takes her mother's place in the Joy Luck Club when her mother dies. Jing-Mei...

(The entire section is 276 words.)

The Joy Luck Club Suyuan Woo

Suyuan Woo does not tell her own story in The Joy Luck Club. Recently deceased when the story begins, Suyuan speaks through her...

(The entire section is 400 words.)