Study Guide

The Joy Luck Club Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By Amy Tan

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

Much of the actions and the decisions made in The Joy Luck Club are based on looking forward into the future. The four mothers immigrate to America in a large part because they have a vision of their children having a better future in the U.S. than in China. The mothers hope that their daughters will be able to live happy, successful lives and still maintain their Chinese character.

As their daughters get older, many of the mothers look forward into their daughters’ futures with concern; they see their daughters making the same mistakes they made, and hope to help their daughters avoid these pitfalls. On the daughters’ side, many look forward into their own futures with apprehension about life decisions that need to be made. Often it is not until they learn a key piece of wisdom from their mother that they can have a vision of their future which is more hopeful.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. What kinds of hopes do the mothers have for their daughters? What hopes do the daughters have for the mothers?
  2. The mothers tend to have a lot of visions and ideas of their daughters’ futures. Do the daughters envision their own futures? If so, what do they expect in their lives? Does it change over the course of the book?
  3. In Suyuan and Jing-mei’s case, do high hopes become destructive?
  4. Compare and contrast the mothers and the daughters in terms of how hope functions in their lives.

Chew on This

Only after each of the daughters learns a key piece of wisdom from her mother can she imagine a positive future for herself.

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