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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration


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The unique perspective of The Joy Luck Club

In 1993, The Joy Luck Club movie adaptation earned $32.9 million on its release year.
Photo Credit: Amy Tan
In 1993, The Joy Luck Club movie adaptation earned $32.9 million on its release year.

Exploring the complex relationship of an immigrant mother and an American-born daughter is uncommon in literature. The Joy Luck Club is able to do so–staying relevant to families 40 years later. 



Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club shares the same name of a group of moms who create a community of shared experiences. In 1949, four mothers who recently fled China to San Francisco, play mahjong as they exchange memories and stories of the lives that they abandoned in order to make the move. A significant common factor between all the women are their daughters. Their bond keeps the women close to their heritage.

First, the section entitled, “Feathers From a Thousand Li Away,” gives insight on the background that each mother left behind. The book starts off in the ‘80s with Jing-Mei Woo experiencing the aftermath of her mother’s death. She recalls the stories of war that her mother, Suyuan, would tell her. An-Mei grows up without her mother after her grandmother disowns her due to her marital issues. Lindo is the victim of a forced marriage as a young girl. Ying-Ying was once an outspoken and energetic girl, until she later gave that up to become an obedient daughter and wife. Most importantly, this section explains why the women make the move. 

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“The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates” and “American Translation” explores the childhoods of each daughter with their mothers. These two sections showcase how trauma passes on and now it affects the parenting of the mothers.

Lastly, in “Queen Mother of the Western Skies”, the stories of the mothers and daughters intertwine, transforming past troubles into future hopes. Even with their refusal to accept their mothers’ culture, the daughters are unaware of how much their families’ background affects their lives and behaviors today.


Amy Tan

Born in California to Chinese immigrant parents, Tan writes using her childhood memories and family as inspiration. She lost her father and eldest brother to brain tumors at 15 years old. After, her mother brought Tan and her younger brother traveling throughout Europe. Despite many obstacles, she still graduated one year early from high school.

Tan has a passion for learning attending Linfield College, San Jose City College, San Jose State University, University of California at Santa Cruz, and California Berkley. She received a B.A. in English and Linguistics and a M.A. in Linguistics.

Along with The Joy Luck Club, Tan is the author of The Valley of Amazement, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, The Opposite of Fate and Saving Fish from Drowning. She has also published two children’s books The Moon Lady and Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat.



The novel is a timeless story, relating to many generations of families. Tan explores the emotional ups and downs of various immigrant mother and American-born daughter stories. However, with each story she stays true to her message: although opposite mother and daughter may come from different cultures, both hold shared experiences only each other can understand. Common themes that the characters experience are cultural identity, war, loss, childhood trauma, and sexism. Regardless of the deep topics she touches upon, the book ends on a hopeful note. The Joy Luck Club is all about choosing one’s future based on the life they were born into. 


Where to Buy

The Joy Luck Club novel can be found in Barnesandnoble or on Amazon.

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About the Contributor
Rachelle Saerang
Rachelle Saerang is a 17 year-old in her Senior Year of Colonia High School. She is involved in Asian Culture Club, Fashion Club, French Honors Society, National Honors Society and Rho Kappa. Rachelle is best described as an advent "thrifter", costume design analyzer, traveler at heart, amateur sketcher, and a poet in private. Although she can listen to all languages and eras of music, her absolute favorite is anything that makes her feel like the main character of a coming-of-age film. Her preferred works of written literature are anything set in the 1800s, sci-fi romance, and foreign fashion magazines. Being that her favored subjects are English and Art, she hopes to find a career path in a combination of the two so long as she is commuting by plane. In her second year working for the newspaper, she hopes to inform and entertain readers of Colonia High's Declaration.

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The unique perspective of The Joy Luck Club