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The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club


by Amy Tan

 Table of Contents

The Joy Luck Club Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Swan and the Swan Feather

So the woman bought a swan who used to be a duck – also known as "a creature that became more than what was hoped for." The swan gets pulled away by immigration officials, and the old lady is...

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

In the novel, The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates is a Chinese book detailing all of the dangers that could befall a child. So the book symbolizes a mother’s desire to protect her children against...

Queen Mother of the Western Skies

The Queen Mother of the Western Skies appears in the parable that is the prologue to the fourth part of the novel. In this parable, a grandmother thinks that her baby granddaughter must be the Quee...


The women of the Joy Luck Club feast every week in order to forget their sorrow. Waverly describes cooking as "how my mother expressed her love, her pride, her power, her proof that she knew more t...

The Red Candle

The red candle with two ends for lighting (one representing Lindo and one representing her husband) is a symbol of marriage in China, "[…] a marriage bond that was worth more than a Catholic...

Marble End Table/Black Vase

This is perhaps the most blatant metaphor ever. There is a poorly designed (by Harold) marble end table in Lena’s guest bedroom with a black vase on it. The table starts to tip over if you ba...

The Jade Pendant, Jing-mei's "Life's Importance"

The green jade pendant was a gift from Suyuan to her daughter, which Suyuan called Jing-mei’s "life importance." If you’re thinking, "What on earth does that mean?" then you’re no...

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