Illustration of the profiles of a young woman and an older woman facting away from each other

The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan

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The Red Candle Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. According to Chinese thinking, what is the difference between 14-carat and 24-carat gold?

2. Lindo relates a movie plot in which a promise is broken. Describe the plot.

3. What qualities would a Chinese mother expect of her daughter-in-law?

4. Describe Lindo as a child.

5. Why does Lindo move in with the Huangs four years before she marries Tyan-yu?

6. What final gift does Lindo’s mother give her?

7. What are some ways in which Tyan-yu and Huang Taitai are unkind to Lindo?

8. On her wedding day Lindo compares herself to the wind. In what ways does she say they are alike?

9. How is Lindo able to leave her marriage honorably?

10. Lindo claims the ancestors have given signs that her marriage to Tyan-yu should end. What are the three signs?

1. The Chinese accept only 24-carat gold, “pure inside and out,” as real gold. Fourteen-carat gold isn’t gold.

2. In the movie, an American soldier promises to come back and marry a girl he wants to sleep with. She gives in, but he abandons her and later marries another.

3. The mother would expect her daughter-in-law to raise sons, to take care of her husband’s parents when they were old, and to show respect to the family ancestors.

4. As a child, Lindo was physically attractive, healthy and strong, and obedient.

5. A flood destroys the farm and home of Lindo’s family, forcing them to move to another part of China. Lindo is old enough to stay with the Huangs. She will marry Tyan-yu to fulfill the marriage contract.

6. Lindo’s mother gives her a chang, a necklace made with a piece of flat red jade.

7. Tyan-yu complains about Lindo’s cooking, creates a mess for her to clean up, interrupts her meal with demands to wait on him, and complains about the expression on her face. Huang Taitai criticizes her constantly. She insists that Lindo be trained in how to wash rice, to smell a chamber pot to make sure it’s clean, to do laundry, embroider, and attend to Huang Taitai’s personal needs.

8. Both the wind and Lindo have power; both are strong and pure.

9. First, Tyan-yu’s end of the marriage candle went out on their wedding night. Second, Lindo made the Huangs think it was their idea for her to leave. Her family would not lose face.

10. The three signs are a mole on Tyan-yu’s back, which Lindo claims will grow and eat away his skin; a tooth missing from her own mouth; and a servant who is pregnant with a child who is supposedly Tyan-yu’s.

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