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“Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan Essay


Amy Tan is an American author who serves as one of the greatest advocates of Confucianism through his literary works. Her novel The Joy Luck Club is an example of how she incorporates certain philosophies into her works in order to preserve and promote them in contemporary society. In the novel, she explores several aspects of Confucianism, which is a philosophical, religious and ethical system that is predominantly comprised of religious and traditional precepts of Chinese traditions.

The novel focuses on certain Confucian teachings that include relationships, filial piety, ancestral worship, and the cycle of the 5 phases. Many literary critics have criticized Tan’s use of myths that according to them, promotes racist stereotypes and make several misrepresentations. Confucianism is the foundation on which the values and ethics of many Asian societies are based on. Since its founding, its impact is still evident because of the soundness of its principles.

Confucianism is a great ethical and philosophical system that has transformed many societies and people’s ways of life. Therefore, many Asian-American writers should take it as their responsibility to promote Confucianism in their works. This argument is based on the impact and significance of the system’s teachings that are still relevant in contemporary society. Three of the most important teachings of Confucianism include filial piety, ancestral veneration, and the cycle of the 5 phases.

Filial piety refers to the concept of giving respect to parents while living and after death. In many societies, this is a cultural aspect that is highly regarded as very important. An important aspect of filial piety is obedience and respect for seniors and elders. Young people and children are required to respect and honor their parents for the gift of life and the sacrifices that they make in ensuring that they are safe and happy. The novel includes several cases of mothers making great sacrifices for the sake of their children’s wellbeing.

On the other hand, the author includes several examples of situations in which children act and behave in ways that show respect for their parents. Relationships between daughters and mothers as well as relationships between husbands and wives are used to express the theme of filial piety in the novel. Other forms of expressing filial piety include courtesy, offering sacrifices to ancestors, and upholding morality. Tan’s novel explores the theme of filial piety through the relationships between the daughters and their mothers.

Ancestral veneration is one of the ways of honoring ancestors and being grateful for the lives of their descendants. Ancestors are venerated through worship, construction of shrines in their honor, erection of portraits in special places, and maintenance of their graveyards.

Finally, the cycle of the five phases explains the dual processes of creation and destruction that explain how Heaven, Earth, and Humans interact. The phases are used to interpret common occurrences such as weather patterns, development of human life, and the succession of political regimes.

Literature is one of the most influential methods of expressing and disseminating information through generations without diluting its relevance. In many societies, cultural traditions, beliefs, and customs are passed on from one generation to the next through literature. This shows how important writers are in any society because they preserve and promote their cultural heritage. For instance, novels can be used as literary vessels to mirror particular modes of philosophies that are relevant in various societies.

Tan’s novel reflects and disseminates the philosophy of Confucianism through the incorporation of specific teachings. In many societies, traditions and cultural ethics are preserved and passed on from one generation to another through literary works of great writers. One of the reasons why Confucianism is widely accepted throughout the world is because of the impact of literary works such as Tan’s novel, The Joy Luck Club. As a writer, Tan was greatly influenced by Confucianism.

This is the main reason why her novel is awash with its teachings. There are many Asian American writers who have been influenced by Confucianism. They include Amy Tan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lan Cao, and Carlos Bulosan. These Asian American writers have written several novels that explore several concepts of Confucianism in efforts to promote Chinese culture and traditions. For instance, obedience is one of the themes that are common in their works.

Respect and obedience are two of the most important aspects of filial piety. These writers continue to promote Confucian teachings such as obedience, respect, respect for authority, and self-governance through their works. Confucian concepts have thus infiltrated and dominated Asian American literature for many years.

Any person can relate to the teachings of Confucianism because many of them focus on establishing a connection between the individual and society as well as the family. Amy Tan successfully uses the mother and daughter characters in her novel to show the importance of the various Confucian principles that she explores in the book. The book promotes Confucianism by showing the transition that occurs in the characters’ lives after migrating to America from China.

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IvyPanda. (2020, April 10). "Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/joy-luck-club-by-amy-tan/

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""Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan." IvyPanda, 10 Apr. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/joy-luck-club-by-amy-tan/.

1. IvyPanda. ""Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan." April 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/joy-luck-club-by-amy-tan/.


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IvyPanda. ""Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan." April 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/joy-luck-club-by-amy-tan/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. ""Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan." April 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/joy-luck-club-by-amy-tan/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan'. 10 April.

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