In The Joy Luck Club, most of the transformations are accomplished through hope, understanding, and life circumstances. Hope, for example, allows people and objects to become more than they really are. New understanding and empathy can also change people in the eyes of another character. A prime example is how the mothers can change from enemies into concerned Chinese mothers as the daughters come to better understand their mothers’ intentions. The women in the novel are also transformed through certain experiences that fundamentally change their characters, such as living in America and becoming somewhat Americanized.
Waverly imbues her mother’s words with a strength they would not ordinarily have, allowing her mother’s off-hand comments to alter her perceptions and beliefs.
In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan employs transformations primarily as a symbol of hope or, conversely, hopelessness.