Discusses the difference between Chinese and American Culture in The Joy Luck Club

AbstractChinese American writer Amy Tan, with a few of famous works of American literature. "The Joy Luck Club"Tells the story of four immigrant mothers and their daughters in the United States between the growth of the story, in-depth study of the birth of the different cultural background of the mother and daughter relationship and the conflict between the East and west culture and integration. This paper discusses the theme of conflict in the novel from many angles, and analyzes the theme of "conflict" in the novel. The two generation and ultimately achieve mutual understanding, interpretation of people only understand and respect each other' s culture and communication will be in harmony.

Key Words: Chinese Culture;American Culture:;collision;clashes.

Chapter 1  Introduction

With the prosperity and development of the increasing integration of races in the United States and ethnic minority literature, Asian American literary works have come out in succession and in the United States in the contemporary literature to shine. The famous Chinese American woman writer Amy Tan's "the Joy Luck Club" as the representative. Amy Tan's first book, "the Joy Luck Club" published by a sensation, won many awards and praise from numerous well-known u.s.. As the descendants of the immigrants in the United States, Amy Tan according to the experience of my grandmother and mother wrote this novel, novel by the influence of Chinese traditional culture of mothers and their growth the contradiction between her daughter in the mainstream American culture as the focus, described the Chinese women under two kinds of cultures of Chinese and America attack continuously of rebellion and protest. In the first generation, great influence of Chinese traditional culture, immigrants and the second generation born in the United States by the conflict of the various concepts of American influence children, described in the novel's mother and daughter the gap, in the contradictions and conflicts between the two generations have been, collision of eastern and Western culture again, try to each other penetration, agree with each other. Its essence is Chinese ethical culture and the mainstream American culture compatibility repulsion results.

Chapter 2  Difference between Chinese and American family values in The Joy Luck Club

 2.1 Differences between two languages

Communication barriers between the two generations , first come from the language. In the novel Jingmei says  "My mother and I never really understood one another We translated each other' smeaning and I seemed hear less than was said while my mother heard more”

We believe that for the mothers , Chinese will always he their mother tongue as China will always he the home for their soul. They can always speak Chinese fluently at any time if they want. So the insisted to continue The Joy Luck Club.  Because it is a habitat of traditional Chinese culture in their heart. They get together regularly a weekly  meeting their best Chines friends,they can put on Chinese traditional clothes , play mahjong taste Chinese traditional food and talk about their own stories in the past time and their hopes for their daughters with Chinese accent. They can feel spiritual comfort in an atmosphere of intense.  They speak in their special language  half in broken English half in their own Chinese dialect.

2.2 Differences in ethics

Chinese culture advocate respect the old and cherish the young, filial piety parents, obey their parents discipline is as unalterable principles. The mother who is deeply influenced by the culture wants her daughters to follow their elders as they are in China. They think it is their right to arrange their daughter's life. But under the cultural background of the United States, these daughters convinced that sense of independence, not for anyone alive, only for their own, does not support the mother's guidance and demonstration, their resentment and distorted mother "weird" Chinese behavior and faith, conflicts arising therefrom.

2.3 Difference of thinking

Chinese culture attaches importance to the collective strength, of the strength of the family, the family should friendship multiplies joys and divides griefs. A person won the honor, the family acquired the this honor. Since ancient times, Chinese parents love their children' success as a show of the capital, which, of course, is because China's parents put all their expectations are pinned to their children, so parents think that children' success is the greatest return on their own efforts. And American culture is more emphasis on personal struggle, the realization of personal value, they think their success is the results of your efforts, do not have any relationship with the family, the family had no any rights to show off their own success.

2.4 The difference between the Chinese and Western concept of marriage

 Western marriage attaches great importance to reflect the individual free will. From love to marriage formation and development, the two sides together for the common ideal of life to the future. Unlike China's parents to comply with the life, the media, the women say, Americans think of be in love, marriage is a personal freedom of choice, according to their own willingness to act on, each member of the family has the right to pursue their own happiness, even parents shall not interfere. To Rose, for example, in her first to the identity of his girlfriend solemnly see boyfriend Ted's family, Ted's mother to her very satisfied, quietly told she doesn't want her racial identity influence the ted the development. Ruth said understanding and tells Ted and he break up, Ted behaved very angry and she shouted: "go, you do sitting there, let my mother to manipulate all want it." Ted's anger stems from Ruth did not respect their own choice, in his eyes, this is tantamount to betraying their love. Marriage docile natural instincts Ruth due to nurtured by Chinese family values, all along the meaning of her husband, big or small are by Ted. In the eyes of Ruth, these are my husband's love, but Ted and eventually become the reason for divorce. The idea of her husband in the United States in her husband's eyes is extremely irresponsible and not share weal and woe with the husband "evidence".

2.5 Chinese and Western concept of family differences

In Chinese traditional culture, the concept of family, there are significant differences of personal status in the family. China culture is a kind of "family" culture. In traditional Chinese culture, face a personal identity, social status, success or failure is due to their family and family solidarity, the family is to provide a sense of security, is fundamental to the people in the society to settle down. Therefore, the family is the dream of the Chinese people, respected, people often use "grandchildren" to describe a family of success and happiness, in the traditional Chinese family mostly generations under one roof. Although western culture have the importance of family relationships, but compared to the oriental culture, it relative to the reflected characteristics of individuals, families, groups are divided, and thus the formation of the Western respect for individual freedom and individualism. Westerners thinking and behavior starting point and Chinese traditional culture has the very big difference, they follow individual department that each person with other people is completely different and only emphasizes one's potential to play, the pursuit of personal goals to achieve and personal interests of the. So in the traditional American family pattern has core family. When personal interests conflict with family relations, Westerners generally do not consider the factors of family, but to the wishes of the individual as the ultimate starting point.

2.6 differences between Chinese and Western family members

In Western ideas, they believe that in a family, the relationship between parents and their children is equal, parents have no right to impose their will on their children, the two sides should understand each other, respect and support. At this point, we can see the beginning of the conflict between the two generations of the novel. The daughters of the text are the people who grow up in the Western cultural background, they agree with the values of Western society and ways of doing things, to control their own life. So the body is in their own homes in the East, they do not adapt to the performance of the.

Chapter 3  The reasons for the difference between Chinese and American family in The Joy Luck Club

3.1 Different economic models

The economic pattern between the different China and the United States led to the different purposes of American family education is a modern and ability oriented society, developed the American people do not need to worry their lives so they educate their children, for children to compete as an individual with other people, they don't think the children bear to support the whole family the pressure is a good method, it may affect the development of children as an independent individual in addition, they don't think it is necessary to let the children to support the whole family, because their parents are able to support themselves but China is an academic society, economy is backward, a large population was affected in a certain extent. They believe that economic development in the society, knowledge can change their life they forced their children to receive higher education, regardless of the child Will, because they think it is only for the children from the poor live cattle the best way more important is, once the children have the opportunity to receive higher education, parents will put pressure on them to find a good job, so they can feed themselves and family so that China's family education is to change the fate of the child and the whole family.

3.2 Different historical background

Different historical backgrounds between China and the United States of the different education content have great relationship as we all know, the United States is a relatively new, short history, all kinds of modern social thoughts can be affected by too many old and outdated traditional influence in the United States it can be seen that person will not, they are open and willing to accept all countries thought, as long as they think is valuable. This inevitably to American parents more choice to deal with their own family education, which means that their family education is rich in content, children always have more provided by their parents to choose

However, in the Chinese traditional thought influence people are more likely to take it for granted that they should follow the ideas of their elders at the same time, we know that China since ancient times attention to intellectual education, family education in modern China also attaches great importance to exam oriented education, which means only one thing for parents to consider: examinations have their children through college entrance examination is their family education is the most important task therefore, it is not difficult to imagine, children in this family education can do things they had no choice, can only learn and work hard so parents of Chinese children family education mode no many choices, life becomes monotonous and boring.

3.3 Different mainstream ideology

United States stressed the personal interest and self achievement, so American parents treat their children as equal and independent individuals, give children more options so that they fight for their own personal interests, parents and children can become close friends, communicate with each other, and parents should fully respect children' privacy just as they respect the privacy of other adults. However, China has always stressed that collective interests in addition, respect for elders qualifications is seen as a change in the tradition and the conformity, which inevitably lead to children' participation and choice of lesser rights.

Chapter 4  Cultural reconciliation after the conflict

However when the daughter to equality, individualism, independent of the will of the American spirit to treat love and career, but found that the western female character the same everywhere runs into a wall, not than her mother. In married life, they are also subject to more cultural aspects of conflict and misunderstanding, emotional life is not the best. Mothers mainly from the memory of the past to get inspiration, but also in the spirit of the support of the daughters. Daughters after experienced the bitterness and pain of cultural conflict, eventually in love inspired by the enlightenment, the mother of wisdom, began to identify with the mother, to retrieve the lost self, to find the right in the marriage, and establish a positive attitude towards life. By way of telling the story, they re-examine and understand each other, and fusion is the mother and daughter with love to know each other and re adjust their culture from the perspective of the results. The conflict was process, harmony is what we should pursue. Whether it is the harmonious relationship between mother and daughter, or cultural harmony. The Joy Luck Club, the mothers and daughters in spite of the diaphragm and conflicts. However, each other between natural emotional bonds will eventually across a gap and obstacles, eventually make American daughters can face they have been since the rejection of mother love and care, resulting in the body to a kind of harmony. And this is reflected in the two Sino US harmonious culture on them compatible. Understanding, communication, trust is the ultimate way to achieve this harmonious culture. In the era of globalization, we need more culture coexist, in order to achieve the harmonious development of the whole society.

4.1 Family as the source for cultural development

Family is the basic unit to carry on cultural forms—since culture illustrates the life style of the people in a certain community and externalizes the essence of human beings—through the younger generation learning from the older generation about the ways of affectationbehavior and evaluation within the societyAt the same time

familythe kindergarten for fundamental education of the youngalso shapes individuals with its own unique style and quality besides the general cultural influenceso as to create a distinctive culture of a certain ethnic and racewith shared spiritual statelife style and psychological qualityand also differences between the individuals

4.2Reconciliation of two cultures

In 1840Alexis Tocqueville raised the term individualism in the American society In 1841individualism was redefined as the driving force of the American societystrong confidence in selfor reliance upon one ’s own exertion and resourcesand perceived as the source of all public the mechanism through which American will fulfill its promise In a 1885 report it was held by the San Francisco Board of Supervisorsthat the Chinese race is one that cannot readily throw off its habits and customer.

The American born children educated under the principle of individualism are unwilling to listen carefully to what their mothers are saying in Chinesethe language of the minoritylet alone to accept the Chinese cultural symbolssuch as the five elementsfengshu chitwelve Chinese horoscopesbalance between Yin and Yangmetc These Chinese beliefs have come out of Buddhism and Taoism in the long history of Chinese cultural development The mothers put great emphasis upon the divine arrangement of their fate and at the same time have a resolute belief in human ability to change bad things into good ones

Chapter 5  Conclusions

Immigration as the background of the novel, always let us deeply feel the Asian life in overseas, in the western culture of the edge of the struggle and frustration. It's hard for us to judge which culture is better and more mainstream. Any culture is accumulated through the continuous progress of human society. In the process of the development of human society, we must experience the fusion of two or more cultures to derive more diverse culture. In this process, the conflict is inevitable. After the conflict, we need to identify and tolerate the existence of this multi culture. In addition, in the acceptance of countless foreign cultures, while, do not forget where they come from, the parent culture is always a fundamental existence of a person



[1] Mitchell R. Hammer.  The Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory: A conceptual framework and measure of intercultural conflict resolution approaches[J]. International Journal of Intercultural Relations . 2005 (6)

[2] Jennifer L. Holt,Cynthia James DeVore.  Culture, gender, organizational role, and styles of conflict resolution: A meta-analysis[J]. International Journal of Intercultural Relations . 2005 (2)

[4] Deborah Cai,Edward Fink.  Conflict style differences between individualists and collectivists[J]. Communication Monographs . 2002 (1)


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