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Joy Luck Club And Chinese Discourse Styles

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Chinese Discourse Styles in The Joy-Luck Club

The movie, The Joy Luck Club, written by Amy Tan, features many of the traditional Chinese literature discourse styles. Chinese symbolism, physical and philosophical development of stories, juxtaposed complements, among the many Chinese styles of writing, encompass the screen play of The Joy-Luck Club.

The swan's feather, introduces the viewer to the importance of symbolism in Chinese culture. This feather represents "hope" and "good luck" in the film. Because June's mother, Suyuan, gave up her hope and transferred all her hope to her children, she could only have the hope that was in this feather. At the end of the film, the hope in the feather carried all June's good intentions.

Dragons are an important symbol of the Chinese culture, however, in this film, there were no direct symbols of a dragon. There were no pictures, no statues... nothing. However, we can look at the birth of An-Mei's brother, who is the bi-product of rape, as being a little dragon.

The story of Lindo, Waverly's mother" displayed two very distinct color symbols. Lindo's arranged husband wore black to their wedding. The color black represents honor, darkness and death. Her husband is very honored in this film, yet he also represents darkness and death for Lindo. Her life is sad, lonely and obedient. Additionally, Lindo wears white to the wedding. This color symbolizes, the color of mourning and purity. Indeed Lindo is in a state of mourning when she must marry this man. However, because nothing is pure, there is always some white in black and some black in white, this film does not follow traditional standards as neither Lindo nor her husband have the opposite colors in their wedding attire.

There is also a very subtle view of the swastika in the film. During the scene of Lindo telling her mother-in-law about the signs from the ancestors, the chairs in the room are decorated with swastikas. Not surprising then is the use of this symbol in this particular scene, as the swastika stands for immortality.

The number four is a very important and symbolic number in Chinese traditions. Additionally, the number four is also the Yin, a female number. This film is the story of four woman and their four daughters. Each of the daughters gains knowledge and understanding from their mothers - and the mothers gain knowledge from their daughters. This is a very Yin/Yang thing. The story in the film does not state that the mothers are correct or that the daughters are correct. Most importantly though, there is a little bit of the mothers in the daughters and a little bit of the daughters in the mothers.

The Wen Fu Yijing story development is evident within each sub story of the film. Just looking at one story, that of Ying-Ying and Lena, we can see both the physical and the philosophical development. The physical development follows closely with the Yijing story line; the early 20th century - (time), in China - (place), Ying-Ying, her husband and her son - (character). Even the philosophical development moves right along the steps of event, cause, affect, though in the film, the events and causes work together to create even bigger effects. Ying-Ying is abused by her husband (event), so she kills her son to hurt her husband (cause), she loses her soul (effect) and so does Lena her daughter (effect). Throughout the film, the inner to outer movement of the story encompasses each story.

Each of



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