n The Joy Luck Club, a significant example of a mother who loses herself and finds her identity is Suyuan Woo. She is Jing-mei Woo’s critical, yet loving mother. Suyuan loses herself through misfortune, but manages to find herself again after a difficult journey.
Suyuan was in her first marriage and living in China when she founded the Joy Luck Club. She left China and somewhere along the way from the war-ravaged area she was in, lost her twin daughters. At arriving in San Francisco, Suyuan brought back the Joy Luck Club with three other women. Suyuan is a strong woman, but she refuses to focus on her problems. Rather, it’s difficult for her to be positive when things are at a low point. This makes her slightly lose her sense of self and her sense of will can even cause conflict.
An example of Suyuan’s self-arising conflict is when she believes that Jing-mei, her daughter, can become a “Chinese Shirley Temple” and(or) a piano prodigy. Jing-mei harbors resentment towards her mother for forcing her to be something she’s not. The negativity between Suyuan and Jing-mei only increases after an unsuccessful piano recital when Suyuan still makes Jing-mei practice piano. Jing-mei became extremely angry and went to the extreme of mentioning the babies her mother lost in China by saying, ” Then I wish I’d never been born! I wish I were dead! Like them.” This is when it is apparent that Suyuan loses herself completely, almost to the point where she is figuratively lifeless.
Throughout the book, the conflict between the mothers, their Chinese tradition, and language and the daughters, their American tradition, and language are evident. Suyuan and Jing-Mei Woo are mother and daughter, respectively, who are characters that illustrate the conflict between the two cultures. In the beginning of the story, the mothers who play Mahjong tell Jing-Mei to see her long lost ...
For years after, Suyuan looks at life bitterly. Her love for her daughter is usually expressed as criticism, but Jing-mei knows that her mom does love her. Therefore, through their relationship, Suyuan begins her journey of self-discovery. Once Jing-mei grows up, Suyuan seems to be more accepting to things that would normally make her upset.
In sum, Suyuan has gone through so many life changing experiences and learned valuable lessons; She learned about herself and her daughter too. Though Suyuan may not have noticed it for herself, she is the reason for her own downfall and in actuality, the cause of her slow but sure comeback as well.