The Joy Luck Club 2

Fasting of the Heart: Mother-Tradition and
Sacred Systems in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club
"Concentrate your will. Hear not with your ears
but with your mind; not with your mind, but with
your spirit . . . blank, passively responsive to
externals. In such open receptivity only can Tao
abide. And in that open receptivity is fasting
of the heart." (Chuangtze, in Yutang, 228)
"The Master said, 'Look at the means a man em-
ploys, observe the path he takes and examine
where he feels at home. In what way is a man's
true character hidden from view?' "
(Confucius, in Lau, 64)
Amy Tan weaves many elements of Taoism and Confucianism into the subtle fabric of The Joy Luck Club. A reading of the ...

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of the novel itself--within apparent conflicts or ambiguities. Tan's use of Confucianism may reveal her hypothesis of how a women's version of that patriarchal ethico-moral-ritual tradition might be passed down from mother to daughter and carried to America. Just as in the Confucian ritual system, very little of the mother-tradition in the text is told explicitly from mother to daughter: ritual actions are supposed to be observed, absorbed, read, and understood in order to be transformed, preserved and handed down in turn.
From a Taoist perspective, the fact that The Joy Luck Club is divided into four sections of four stories each, about four mothers and four daughters, carries symbolic weight. In Taoism (see Appendices I & II), there are not four directions, but five, the fifth being the dynamic center (Corless, 2/13/92). The dynamic center of the novel is contained within the four sets of four stories. For example, the four places at the Mah Jong table are thrown out of ...

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Club after her mother's death, only to find that the Aunts wish her to correct a greater imbalance: to meet her two sisters in China, and fulfill her filial obligation to tell her sisters about their mother. The entire novel pivots around the Aunt's tension ("Tell them!") about the transference of the mother-tradition (Tan, 31).
The second tale, "Scar," introduces what Tan may be producing as women's version of Confucian Analects: the Moral Tale. An-Mei Hsu absorbs these stories from Popo, the grandmother, who bewilders the girl with stories of little girls with melons in their stomachs or brains leaking out of their head (Tan, 34). These are Popo's attempts to instill concepts of shou, ...

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The Joy Luck Club 2. (2006, June 24). Retrieved January 16, 2021, from
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"The Joy Luck Club 2." June 24, 2006. Accessed January 16, 2021.
"The Joy Luck Club 2." June 24, 2006. Accessed January 16, 2021.
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Added: 6/24/2006 08:19:47 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 5048
Pages: 19

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