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The Joy Luck Club
Summary & Analysis
Feathers from a Thousand Li Away: Introduction & “The Joy Luck Club”
Feathers from a Thousand Li Away: “Scar,” “The Red Candle,” & “The Moon Lady”
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates: Introduction, “Rules of the Game,” & “The Voice from the Wall”
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates: “Half and Half” & “Two Kinds”
American Translation: Introduction, “Rice Husband,” & “Four Directions”
American Translation: “Without Wood” & “Best Quality”
Queen Mother of the Western Skies: Introduction, “Magpies,” & “Waiting Between the Trees”
Queen Mother of the Western Skies: “Double Face” & “A Pair of Tickets”
Jing-mei (June) Woo
Rose Hsu Jordan
Ying-ying St. Clair
Lena St. Clair
Important Quotations Explained
Quotes By Theme
Quotes By Section
Feathers from a Thousand Li Away: Introduction and “The Joy Luck Club”
Feathers from a Thousand Li Away: “Scar,” “The Red Candle,” and “The Moon Lady”
The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates: Introduction, “Rules of the Game,” and “The Voice from the Wall”
The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates: “Half and Half” and “Two Kinds”
American Translation: Introduction, “Rice Husband,” and “Four Directions”
American Translation: “Without Wood” and “Best Quality”
Queen Mother of the Western Skies: Introduction, “Magpies,” and “Waiting Between the Trees”
Queen Mother of the Western Skies: “Double Face” and “A Pair of Tickets”
Quotes By Character
Jing-mei (June) Woo
Full Book Quiz
Analysis of Major Characters
Themes, Motifs & Symbols
Feathers from a Thousand Li Away: Introduction & "The Joy Luck Club"
Feathers from a Thousand Li Away: "Scar," "The Red Candle," & "The Moon Lady"
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates: Introduction, "Rules of the Game," & "The Voice from the Wall"
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates: "Half and Half" & "Two Kinds"
American Translation: Introduction, "Rice Husband," & "Four Directions"
American Translation: "Without Wood" & "Best Quality"
Queen Mother of the Western Skies: Introduction, "Magpies," & "Waiting Between the Trees"
Queen Mother of the Western Skies: "Double Face" & "A Pair of Tickets"
Suggestions for Further Reading
How to Write Literary Analysis
Suggested Essay Topics
How to Cite This SparkNote
Full Book Quiz
Full Book Quiz
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What game do the members of the Joy Luck Club play?
Joy Luck Rummy
How did An-mei Hsu receive the scar on her neck?
She was burned by hot soup
She scraped it by falling into a garden pond
She got into a fight with her brother
Her mother ripped a pearl necklace from her neck in order to show her that the “pearls” were in fact glass
How does the red candle predict the success of Lindo and Tyan-yu’s marriage?
If Lindo is unable to blow out the flame, then she will have one love affair outside her marriage
The number of wax drops that the candle leaves on the tablecloth represents the number of children that Lindo will bear her husband
If it burns from both ends without going out, it will presage a happy marriage
The candle will be timed: for each hour it burns, the couple will enjoy a decade of conjugal life
What happens to the candle?
Lindo blows it out, but the servant lights it again out of fear that she will be punished for negligence
It burns to the end without going out, symbolizing that Lindo and her husband will have a happy and faithful marriage
It topples over and starts a fire
Lindo steals and hides it in order to prevent the marriage
What does Ying-ying’s Amah teach her that girls should do?
They should assert their autonomy and strength despite the pressures of a patriarchal society
They should try to learn all that they can about the world
They should never ask questions or make requests, but only listen
They should learn to dance, play instruments, and recite poetry in order to find good husbands
What is the source of Waverly’s first chess set?
She buys it at a shop in Chinatown
Her brother receives it as a gift at a church Christmas party
She receives it as a gift from the men who play chess in the park
Her mother gives it to her in hopes of awaking an inner prodigy
What does Ying-ying say is wrong with the St. Clairs’ apartment?
It is not big enough
It is not in Chinatown
It is not balanced
Its walls are too thin
What is the name of Rose Hsu Jordan’s youngest brother?
How do Rose and An-mei return to the beach to look for Rose’s drowned brother?
They are escorted in a helicopter
They take the bus, even though, to Rose’s knowledge, the buses aren’t running that day
An-mei drives them in the family car, even though, to Rose’s knowledge, she has never driven before
They walk twenty miles
Why doesn’t Jing-mei’s piano teacher, Mr. Chong, insist that she play the correct notes?
He is deaf
He does not want to hurt Jing-mei’s self-esteem
He believes that the wrong notes sound better
He wants Jing-mei to fail miserably at her recital
What does Ying-ying say when Lena fails to eat every last grain of rice in her bowl?
She reminds Lena about the starving children in Africa
She tells Lena she cannot have dessert
She tells Lena to go to her room
She tells Lena that every grain of rice she fails to eat will become a pock mark on the face of her future husband
What gift from Rich does Waverly show to her mother?
An engagement ring
A coffee table he has designed and built
A mink coat
A plane ticket to China
What material element does An-mei say is lacking symbolically in Rose’s character?
What is the name of the pendant that Suyuan gives to Jing-mei?
Her “heart’s joy”
Her “life’s importance”
Her “inheritance of love”
Her “good luck”
What is wrong with one of the crabs that Suyuan and Jing-mei buy for their New Year’s dinner?
It is missing a leg
It is too feisty and pinches the women
It is brain damaged
It is too small
Why does Suyuan end up not eating any crab at all during the celebration?
She has never liked the taste of crab
She is on a no-seafood diet and decides at the last minute to discard the crabs
Waverly takes the best specimen for her daughter, leaving for Suyuan what she had anticipated would be “extra”—the lamed, “unlucky” crab
She miscounted the crabs
What does An-mei’s mother tell her to do rather than cry?
Fight to correct that which pains her
Speak openly about her sorrow
Sing a song
Swallow her tears and suppress her grief
What is deceptive about the necklace that Second Wife gives to An-mei?
It is gold-painted silver, not real gold
It is glass, not pearl
The jade is newer than it looks
It is stolen
What measures does Suyuan take to try to ensure that her twin daughters are returned to her after the war with Japan?
She tattoos them with her name
She writes the address of her family home in Shanghai on the backs of family photographs and stuffs the photos into the babies’ clothing
She hides them in a cave and memorizes the cave’s location
What does Jing-mei eat for her first meal in China?
Hamburgers, french fries, and apple pie
A traditional Chinese feast
A simple peasant’s meal of plain white rice
What distressed Lindo about her recent trip to China?
She found that China was not as beautiful as she had remembered it
She was depressed by what the Communists had done to the country
She found the prices too high
She realized that people could recognize her as an American
What is Ying-ying’s first step in trying to make Lena realize the problems with her marriage and do something about them?
She kidnaps Lena and takes her back to their family’s apartment
She knocks over the rickety coffee table that Lena’s husband had made in his student days, shattering the vase that had been sitting on top of it
She tells Lena to go to a therapist
She yells at Lena’s husband in front of her
What does An-mei use as a prop to keep her kitchen table from wobbling?
A small statue of a Buddha
A Chinese-English dictionary
A Chinese children’s book called
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates
A white leatherette Bible
What does Lindo call Waverly’s psychiatrist?
Where does Suyuan meet her husband, Canning?
In a hospital in China
At a fortune-cookie factory in Chinatown
At a church function in San Francisco
On a boat coming to America
Context Quick Quiz
The Joy Luck Club
Jing-mei (June) Woo: Character Analysis
Quotes by Theme
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