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The modern American nation is a blend of people from all over the world. Such a situation finds its reflection in literature and cinema. Art is an important means by which the group realizes its essence, rediscovers itself in the process of rethinking its identity in relation to society, and reveals its strengths and weaknesses.
The Joy Luck Club Analysis
In the film “The Joy Luck Club,” two generations are presented: mothers who immigrated to America from China, and their daughters who were born and raised in the USA. Mothers can be attributed to the representatives of Chinese culture, with their natural rejection of American values and traditions. The American way of life seems strange to mothers. In order to get used to it, they had to suppress the habits brought up in them from birth and to hide their outlook on life in order to feel safe in a foreign culture. Mothers cherish everything Chinese - spiritual and material. From the standpoint of ethnocentrism, they regard everything that belongs to their native Chinese culture much higher and better than what American culture offers them. Mothers speak a mixture of Chinese and English. Moreover, often they do not have enough words to designate some realities of Chinese culture; they deliberately switch to Chinese to explain something important.
Connection of Two Generations
In adolescence, when much attention is paid to public opinion (in this case, the opinion of American society), daughters deny Chinese culture. They do not know Chinese. Without trying to understand the culture of their mothers, denying the presence of something Chinese in themselves, the daughters still absorb it from childhood. Thus, one of the essential characteristics of any culture (although superficial) is knowledge of the national cuisine. In the film, there are many mentions of Chinese dishes. They are presented to create an exotic coloring for the American audience and to depict the atmosphere of Chinese culture. Daughters know all the rules of behavior in Chinese culture and follow them, communicating with their parents. Gradually, the daughters realize that they are on the border of two cultures. They have to decide the question of their cultural affiliation: whether they are Chinese or American women.
Children of immigrants want to determine their place in the world. Mothers are looking for the same thing, since they are in a foreign society now, in which there is no place for them. However, they comprehend their position in terms of Chinese traditions. One of the traditions of Chinese culture is the silence of women. However, mothers are freed from their silence in order to help their daughters.
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The natural dialogue and the conflict of generations, arising from the desire to pass on their life experience, in this case, acquires an additional meaning. Mothers strive to transmit their culture. With the help of stories about the past and their homeland, mothers help their daughters to find themselves, thereby preserving Chinese history and culture. The generation gap is presented here as a clash of traditional Chinese culture with the values of modern American society.