The Joy Luck Club
Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
In front of his parents, I was an obedient wife, just as they taught me. I instructed the cook to kill a fresh young chicken every morning and cook it until pure juice came out. I would strain this juice myself into a bowl, never adding any water. I gave this to him for breakfast, murmuring good wishes about his health. And every night I would cook a special tonic soup called tounaui, which was not only very delicious but has eight ingredients that guarantee long life for mothers. This pleased my mother-in-law very much. (I.3.63)
Wifely obedience is a lot of hard work.
"Why can’t I ask?"
"This is because…because if you ask it…it is no longer a wish but a selfish desire," said Amah. "Haven’t I taught you – that it is wrong to think of your own needs? A girl can never ask, only listen." (I.4.30)
Ying-ying is taught to give up her voice and spirit in favor of circumscribed gender roles.
My mother smiled and walked over to me. She smoothed some of my wayward hairs back in place and tucked them into my coiled braid. "A boy can run and chase dragonflies, because that is his nature," she said. "But a girl should stand still. If you are still for a very long time, a dragonfly will no longer see you. Then it will come to you and hide in the comfort of your shadow." (I.4.52)
An-mei is taught to repress her spirit – and in exchange, she gets what she wants? That’s not how her story seemed to play out.