The Joy Luck Club
How we cite our quotes:
And I think that feeling of fear never left me, that I would be caught someday, exposed as a sham of a woman. But recently, a friend of mine, Rose, who’s in therapy now because her marriage is falling apart, told me those kinds of thoughts are commonplace in women like us.
"At first I thought it was because I was raised with all this Chinese humility," Rose said. "Or that maybe it was because when you’re Chinese you’re supposed to accept everything, flow with the Tao and not make waves. But my therapist said, Why do you blame your culture, your ethnicity? And I remembered reading an article about baby boomers, how we expect the best and when we get it we worry that maybe we should have expected more, because it’s all diminishing returns after a certain age." (III.1.45)
Rose and Lena share the idea that they’re not good enough; Rose blames it handily first on Chinese culture, and secondly on generational expectations.
Despite all the tension she places on herself – and others – the doctors have proclaimed that my mother, at age sixty-nine, has the blood pressure of a sixteen year old and the strength of a horse. And that’s what she is. A Horse, born in 1918, destined to be obstinate and frank to the point of tactlessness. She and I make a bad combination, because I’m a Rabbit, born in 1951, supposedly sensitive, with tendencies toward being thin-skinned and skittery at the first sign of criticism. (III.2.9)
We’d say that sums up Lindo and Waverly’s characters pretty well, actually.
He had no inhibitions, and whatever ones he discovered I had he’d pry away from me like little treasures. He saw all those private aspects of me – and I mean not just my sexual private parts, but my darker side, my meanness, my pettiness, my self-loathing – all the things I kept hidden. So that with him I was completely naked, and when I was feeling the most vulnerable – when the wrong word would have sent me flying out the door forever – he always said the right thing at the right moment. (III.2.78)
Rich sees all of Waverly’s entire character – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and knows how to handle that knowledge. Basically, she can be completely herself with him.