The Joy Luck Club
Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
On her journey she cooed to the swan: "In America I will have a daughter just like me. But over there nobody will say her worth is measured by the loudness of her husband’s belch. Over there nobody will look down on her, because I will make her speak only perfect American English." (I.Prologue.2)
This implies that in China, the woman had her worth measured by the loudness of her husband’s belch. She wants her daughter to live in a different culture, one that has better opportunities for women.
But even if I had known I was getting such a bad husband, I had no choice, now or later. That was how backward families in the country were. We were always the last to give up stupid old-fashioned customs. In other cities already, a man could choose his own wife, with his parents’ permission of course. But we were cut off from this type of new thought. You never heard if ideas were better in another city, only if they were worse. We were told stories of sons who were so influenced by bad wives that they threw their old, crying parents out into the street. So Taiyuanese mothers continued to choose their daughters-in-law, ones who would raise proper sons, care for the old people, and faithfully sweep the family burial grounds long after the old ladies had gone to their graves. (I.3.11)
The selection of a wife is as much the business of the parents-in-law as the husband-to-be, because the girl chosen will have as much of an obligation to her husband as to his family.
Because I was promised to the Huangs’ son for marriage, my own family began treating me as if I belonged to somebody else. My mother would say to me when the rice bowl went up to my face too many times, "Look how much Huang Taitai’s daughter can eat." (I.3.12)
According to tradition, women belong to their husbands’ family.