The Joy Luck Club
Identity Quotes Page 4
How we cite our quotes:
Ted pulled out the divorce papers and stared at them. His x’s were still there, the blanks were still blank. "What do you think you’re doing? Exactly what?" he said.
And the answer, the one that was important above everything else, ran through my body and fell from my lips: "You can’t just pull me out of your life and throw me away." (III.3.104)
Rose finally stands up for herself, realizing that she has a strong voice and character.
In the afternoon, my mother spoke of her unhappiness for the first time. We were in a rickshaw going to a store to find embroidery thread. "Do you see how shameful my life is?" she cried. "Do you see how I have no position? He brought home a new wife, a low-class girl, dark-skinned, no manners! Bought her for a few dollars from a poor village family that makes mud-brick tiles. And at night when he can no longer use her, he comes to me, smelling of her mud." (IV.1.90)
An-mei’s mother’s identity and social position is based on her husband, Wu Tsing, and the order in which he married his wives. An-mei’s mother is insulted at who Fifth Wife is, and the place she occupies in Wu Tsing’s bed rotation. Moreover, she despairs at her position as Fourth Wife, ashamed that she has no rights.
My daughter did not look pleased when I told her this, that she didn’t look Chinese. She had a sour American look on her face. Oh, maybe ten years ago, she would have clapped her hands – hurray! – as if this were good news. But now she wants to be Chinese, it is so fashionable. And I know it is too late. All those years I tried to teach her! She followed my Chinese ways only until she learned how to walk out the door by herself and go to school. (IV.3.6)
Now that it’s in fashion, Waverly likes to think that being Chinese is part of her identity, and doesn’t appreciate it when her mom points out how American Waverly is.