The Joy Luck Club
by Amy Tan
Lindo is one tough, tricky woman. Her primary character trait might just be craftiness. She managed to free herself honorably (and deviously) from a horrible marriage, staying true to both herself and her parents’ wishes. She also applied her cunning to ensure a second marriage, using a fortune cookie with a perfectly selected fortune to secure her man and get him to pop the question. Part of Lindo’s personality is a certain selfishness, a demand for the best, and her clever mind understands how to balance that desire with, say, her parents’ promises, her own notion of respect for her elders, and her own inner voice.
Despite being raised in a relatively repressive situation – being forced into an awful marriage and basically treated as her mother-in-law’s personal slave – Lindo has a strong sense of self. Crying on the day of her wedding, Lindo realizes her own personal value that cannot be diluted. She also recognizes her own genuine inner thoughts, which other people could not see. She decides that her inner thoughts are like the wind, powerful even though they are invisible.
For her entire life Lindo holds on to the metaphor of the wind’s invisible strength and uses it as a way to know her value, and keep her plans and intentions hidden while waiting for the right moment to strike. This quality of Lindo allows her to be tricky and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
All of Lindo’s characteristics are in line with her being born in the year of the horse and as member of the Sun clan. The horse is strong and a hard worker. The Sun clan (her maiden name is Sun) is known for its "smart people, very strong, tricky, and famous for winning wars." That’s Lindo in a nutshell.
Lindo and Waverly
Lindo’s greatest wish for her daughter was that Waverly would have "American circumstances and Chinese character." However, Lindo doesn’t think she achieved this goal, it might not be something that any mother can give their children.
Lindo is pleased that Waverly has had American opportunities, and doesn’t have to be satisfied with the life she was born into. But Waverly lacks Chinese character; Waverly doesn’t really respect her mother, she rarely listens to Lindo, and Lindo even thinks Waverly is ashamed of her. Lindo also thinks that Waverly doesn’t know the meaning of a promise, which is a serious criticism coming form a woman to stuck it out in a bad marriage during her youth in order to fulfill a promise to her parents.
But Lindo also sees many similarities between herself and her daughter. The two of them have similar faces – all the way down to their crooked noses – and therefore similar fortunes. Lindo also comes to realize that while her daughter is definitely not Chinese, she herself is no longer completely Chinese either. Lindo, just like her daughter, is two-faced – both Chinese and American.