Study Guide

The Joy Luck Club Part 4, Prologue

By Amy Tan

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Part 4, Prologue

  • We see a grandmother talking to her baby granddaughter about innocence.
  • The baby is laughing for no apparent reason. The grandma reflects that she also used to be like the baby, but gave up her innocence to protect herself. She taught her daughter to do the same.
  • Now the grandma isn’t sure if it’s better in the end to keep your innocence or not.
  • The grandmother thinks that to recognize darkness in other people means you must also have that same evil in yourself.
  • The grandma wonders if the baby girl has some special wisdom, if she is laughing because she has lived so long (through reincarnation) and has learned that laughing is the best thing after all.
  • The grandmother thinks the baby must be the Queen Mother of the Western Skies, reincarnated, and there to teach her a lesson.
  • What she learns from the baby is that a person should always hold on to the ability to laugh and hope even after she has lost her innocence.
  • The grandmother hopes that her daughter will learn the same lesson from the baby.

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