Analysis: What’s Up With the Title?
The Joy Luck Club is a weekly gathering of four women – one to fill each corner of a mah jong table – who gather to play mah jong, eat good food, and gossip. It was started by Suyuan Woo in Kweilin during the Second Sino-Japanese War as a means of keeping her and her friends’ spirits up amid the tragedy that surrounded them. The second version of the Joy Luck Club started after Suyuan immigrated to San Francisco; the other three members, also Chinese immigrants, are An-mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-ying St. Clair. Each of the women have a daughter: Jing-mei (also known as June), Rose, Waverly, and Lena, respectively. The novel is told from eight separate viewpoints, as each woman gets two chapters to tell her own unique story (with the exception of Suyuan, who is dead at the start of the novel – her daughter Jing-mei narrates). There are thus sixteen chapters.