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The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan

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Why does Suyuan give Jing-mei the jade pendant in The Joy Luck Club?

Quick answer:

Suyuan gives Jing-mei the jade pendant as a means of representing a physical connection between mother and daughter. Additionally, the necklace is a reminder of how precious Jing-mei is to her mother.

Expert Answers

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In the section titled "Best Quality," Jing-mei is feeling particularly exhausted after a confrontation with Waverly. Once again, Waverly has destroyed Jing-mei's confidence, making her believe that she isn't capable of being anything more than a mediocre copywriter. As she stands at the sink to help her mother wash dishes, Suyuan begins preparing more tea. Jing-mei awaits a chastisement that seems imminent based on the way their dinner conversation has been going.

Instead, Suyuan points out that Jing-mei had chosen the worst crab from the batch as her dinner. She reflects aloud that her daughter is always "thinking different" from other people.

Suddenly, Suyuan takes off the jade necklace she is wearing and thrusts it into the hand of Jing-mei. She tells her daughter that she wants her to have it so that she will "know [her mother's] meaning." She has worn this necklace on her skin, knowing that one day her daughter would wear it on her own skin. In this way, the necklace is a way of connecting mother and daughter.

Since a necklace is worn close to the heart, it also symbolizes the love that is transferred from one generation to the next. Suyuan wants Jing-mei to recognize her worth and to believe that she is valuable and precious, as her mother sees her. The necklace is thus a physical reminder of how precious Jing-mei is to her mother.

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