Joy Luck Club
The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, is a powerful portrayal of four Chinese women and
the lives of their children in America. The book discusses the conflicting
cultures between the United States and China, and how men treat women throughout
their lives. People living in the United States usually take for granted their
roles as a male or female. The culture of each country shapes the treatment one
receives based on the sex of the individual. There are obvious differences
within the different cultures. These differences show themselves in the work
force, the distinct tasks performed in the home, and the privileges one receives
in society. In the work force, the women of America hold many positions of
importance. They are usually treated as equals with men and there are few jobs
from which they are excluded. In China, women are expected to stay at home and
are not permitted to be in a work force that is held exclusively for men. The
women of America receive fair wages and have earned the right to work with men.

In China, women are assigned the role of housewives and must stay at home to
clean the house and raise the children. Women in America receive educations that
will prepare them for the high paying jobs of a professional. The women in China
are known for taking orders from their husbands. Another feature that is found
to be different in China from America is the different roles women take in the
home. The author explains that a Chinese woman is expected to be a good wife for
her chosen husband. Girls are promised at an early age to a man. The story

"The Red Candle" shows an arranged marriage where the author sacrificed her
life to fulfill her parentsí promise of marriage when she was only two years
old. At the marriage ceremony the candle is lit at both ends and if neither end
goes out it will be a successful marriage. Of course, the woman was the one held
responsible for making the marriage a successful one. In an American marriage,
each person is held accountable for the success of a marriage. There are no
arranged marriages and no matchmakers as in the Chinese culture. Marriage is
expected to be for love not to fulfill promises between families. Another
difference reflected in the book is that the women in China have different
privileges than men. In the story, Amy Tan, showed how women were not important
enough to choose many things for themselves. They were given all the orders and
were expected to follow them without question. They did not have choice in whom
they married and whether they worked. Girls were also given to other families
when they were young. A son could never go to another home to live. The women of

America would never stand for this treatment. They are educated and make their
own decisions. Differences in the cultures of Chinese and American women are
numerous. Lena St. Clair says it best when she talks about the equality she has
with her coworker, Harold. This is not possible in China, however, it is
expected in America. The women in China appear to accept their misery. The women
in America make every effort to rise above a life that does not place them at
equal level as a man.