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Literature Study GuidesThe Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club | Study Guide

Amy Tan

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Course Hero. "The Joy Luck Club Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 Feb. 2017. Web. 29 May 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. (2017, February 7). The Joy Luck Club Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from

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Course Hero. "The Joy Luck Club Study Guide." February 7, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Joy Luck Club Study Guide," February 7, 2017, accessed May 29, 2023,


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Amy Tan

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Perspective and Narrator

The Joy Luck Club is structured according to four sections of four stories each. A third-person parable begins each section. Each of the 16 stories is narrated in the first person by a mother or a daughter for a total of eight narrators. The third-person parables provide universal links among the stories while the varying first-person narrators provide multiple points of view on events.


The Joy Luck Club is told in the past and present tenses.

About the Title

The titleThe Joy Luck Club refers to a weekly gathering of four Chinese women who form a mah jong group. Mah jong is a four-player game that features tiles and is similar to the card game rummy. The group originated in China to bring joy, luck, and companionship to the players during the tragedy of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The founder, Suyuan Woo, continues the club in the San Francisco area after all four women immigrate. In the United States the daughters of the four original members are slated to inherit their mothers' places at the mah jong table. As the novel opens, Suyuan Woo has died and her daughter is joining the game for the first time.


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