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The Joy Luck Club | Study Guide

Amy Tan

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The Joy Luck Club | Part 3, Prologue : American Translation | Summary



A daughter gives her mother a tour of her new home, and the mother is alarmed to see a mirror at the foot of the bed. She says the daughter's "marriage happiness" will bounce off the mirror and "turn the opposite way." The daughter is annoyed, but the mother has a solution. She presents her housewarming gift—a gilt-edged mirror—and places it against the bed's headboard. Now, she says, the daughter's "peach-blossom luck" will be multiplied by the mirror. She is sure she will have a grandchild by next spring.


"Peach-blossom luck" is a principle of feng shui, or the positioning of objects in one's home or other space as a means of harnessing positive energy. To tap into peach-blossom luck, which is said to enhance one's chance of romance, one must carefully position furniture and symbolic objects in the southwest portion of the home, the area that represents love and marriage. A mirror at the foot of the bed is symbolic of negative energy in the couple's love life.

This story illustrates the divide between Chinese and American ways of thinking within one family. The mother, who believes in the principles of feng shui, adheres to time-honored traditions. The daughter, while curious about her mother's beliefs, is more concerned about practicality. As well as representing her traditional Chinese beliefs, the mother's quick fix of the gifted mirror speaks to both her "mother's intuition" and her hopes for her daughter's future.

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