The Joy Luck Club
How we cite our quotes:
And I would stare at my mother. She did not look evil. I wanted to touch her face, the one that looked like mine.
It is true, she wore strange foreign clothes. But she did not speak back when my aunt cursed her. Her head bowed even lower when my uncle slapped her for calling him Brother. She cried from the heart when Popo died, even though Popo, her mother, had sent her away so many years before. (IV.1.9)
An-mei is fascinated by her mother, and notes that her mother’s love for her grandmother never died, even after her mother would have every reason to start hating her grandmother.
I will use this sharp pain to penetrate my daughter’s tough skin and cut her tiger spirit loose. She will fight me, because this is the nature of two tigers. But I will win and give her my spirit, because this is the way a mother loves her daughter. (IV.2.80)
Ying-ying believes that she must give Lena her spirit. A mother must sometimes cause her daughter pain, but it is borne out of great love and intended to help her daughter have a better future. This is similar to how An-mei’s mother killed herself, causing her daughter pain, but ultimately giving An-mei a better life.
"Don’t be so old-fashioned, Ma," she told me, finishing her coffee down the sink. "I’m my own person."
And I think, How can she be her own person? When did I give her up? (IV.3.12)
Lindo still feels a proprietary claim over her daughter, and that her daughter is still a part of her.