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Book: The Joy Luck Club

SECTION 3 - AMERICAN TRANSLATION 

The stories in this section continue the clash between the values of the Chinese mothers and the new lives embraced by the American daughters. This is symbolized in the mirrored armoire in the master suite of the daughter's new condominium. Its mirrors are at the foot of the bed and will reflect happiness away from the daughter. The mother placed a gilt-edged mirror on the head board of the bed to bring the daughter "peach-blossom luck," fertility, the grandchildren that the grandmother-to-be desires. 


 


Rice Husband told by Lena St. Clair 


1. What does the saying, "If the lips are gone, the teeth will be cold," mean? 



2. What does Lena's mother see? 



3. What are the three things that Lena's mother predicted that came true? 



4 What does Lena think her mother will see during her visit with her and Harold? 



5. What physical aspect of Lena's house does her mother connect with a feeling? 



6. What food does Harold not realize that Lena doesn't eat? 



7. Why does Harold hate it when Lena cries? 



8. When Lena says, "I knew it would happen," what question does her mother ask? 



9. Why does the marble end table collapse? 


 


Four Directions told by Waverly Jong 



1. What did Waverly want to tell her mother at lunch? 



2. What did Waverly's mother do when she found that Waverly had eloped with her first husband? 



3. Why did Waverly first stop playing chess as a child? 



4. What special thing could Waverly's mother do to change Waverly's view of a person? 



5. What mistake did Rich make about the wine at the dinner with Waverly's family? 



6. Why was Waverly so anxious that her mother was the queen while she, Waverly, was the pawn? 



7. In what way was Waverly confused about where her mother came from? 



8. What trip is Waverly contemplating at the end of the story and with whom would she travel? 


 


Without Wood told by Rose Hsu Jordan 


1. When Rose was little, what did she believe? 



2. Why did Rose's mother say that Rose was "without wood"? 



3. Why did Rose stay in bed for three days? 



4. Where did Rose tell Ted she was going to live? 



5. When Rose says that Ted is hulihudu, what does she mean? 



6. What does Rose's mother plan in Rose's garden? 


 


Best Quality by Jing-Mei Woo 


1. What is Jing-Mei's "life's importance" gift from her mother? 



2. Why did Jing-Mei's mother not want to keep the crab that had lost a leg? 



3. Why did Jing-Mei leave the room while the crabs were being steamed? 



4. How do Jing-Mei and her mother disagree in regard to Waverly Jong? 



5. How did Waverly insult Jing-Mei professionally? 



6. Who got the crab with the missing leg? 


 


 


SECTION 4 - QUEEN MOTHER OF THE WESTERN SKIES 


This series of stories represent the Chinese mothers trying to pass along the message that the daughters should lose their innocence but not their hope. This is symbolized by the woman teasing her baby granddaughter and remembering how she went from freedom and innocence and laughter to learning to protect herself. She taught her daughter to protect herself by shedding her own innocence. Now, seeing the laughing baby, the grandmother wonders if her daughter can learn through the child to keep her hope and to laugh forever. 


 


Magpies told by An-Mei Hsu 


1. In what way does An-Mei say that all people born girls are alike? 



2. What did it mean to An-Mei to be raised "the Chinese way"? 



3. How did An-Mei's mother dishonor her widowhood? 



4. What did the turtle in the pond do to An-Mei's tears? 



5. What happened to the eggs that poured out of the turtle's beak? 



6. What emotion described the magpies? 



7. What did the story of the turtles and the magpies teach An-Mei's mother to do? 



8. How did An-Mei learn not to listen to something meaningless calling to her? 



9. Why did An-Mei's mother send An-Mei out of their bedroom at night? 



10. Why did An-Mei's mother become Wu Tsing's concubine? 



11. How did An-Mei's mother die? 



12. What promise did Wu Tsing make to An-Mei's mother after she died? 



13. What does An-Mei say that her daughter's psychiatrist is? 



14. How did the tired Chinese peasants get rid of the birds that were drinking their tears and eating their seeds? 


 


Waiting Between the Trees told by Ying-Ying St. Clair 


1. How has Lena St. Clair unknowingly insulted her mother by giving her the guest bedroom in her home? 


2. What did Lena do when she was born? 


3. When Ying-Ying was a young girl in Wushi, she was lihai. What does that mean? 


4. When did Ying-Ying begin to know things before they happened? 


5. What sign happened to convince Ying-ying that she would marry the man who was a guest at her house? 


6. Why did Ying-Ying's husband leave her? 


7. What is the difference between what Lena sees in her mother and what her mother really is? 


8. Why, according to Ying-Ying, is the tiger gold and black? 


9. Why does Ying-Ying abort her first child? 


10. What did Ying-Ying do for ten years at the country home of her cousin's family? 


11. What did Ying-Ying give up when she married St. Clair? 


12. At the end of the story, what does Ying-Ying want to do for her daughter? 


 


Double Face told by Lindo Jong 


1. Why does Waverly Jong want to go to China? 


2. Why does Waverly especially want to be Chinese? 


3. Why could Lindo's children not have American circumstances and Chinese character? 


4. Who first taught Lindo-about America? 


5. What kind of job did Lindo get in the cookie factory? 


6. What was the fortune inside the cookie that Lindo gave to Tin? 


7. Why does Waverly like the fact that she and her mother have crooked noses? 


8. At the end of the story, what is Lindo wondering about? 


 


A Pair of Tickets told by Jing-Mei Woo 


1. Why does Jing-Mei feel different as her train leaves the Hong Kong border and enters Shenzhen, China? 


2. Where is Jing-Mei meeting her two half-sisters? 


3. How did the half-sisters learn that their mother was dead? 


4. How did Jing-Mei learn the details of what happened to her half-sisters? 


5. Why did Jing-Mei's mother actually leave the babies? 


6. Who found the babies? 


7. What are the two different Chinese meanings of Suyuan, Jing-Mei's mother's name? 


8. What are the meanings of Jing-Mei's name? 

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