FrancesHuang's Blog

Monday, November 27, 2006

Introduction (Draft)

Amy Tan is an American-Chinese writer. She has written five novels of fiction from 1989 to 2005, including The Joy Luck Club (1989) , The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991), The Hundred Secret Senses (1995), The Bonesetter’s Daughter (2001) and Saving Fish from Drowning (2005). In her first four novels, Chinese cultures are portrayed to the life. Especially, superstition plays a central role in the mentality and belief of Chinese people. The Chinese believe that the supernatural power will bring them either bad luck or blessing. (Reference needs to be found) Amy Tan interweaved the traditional Chinese beliefs with the fiction she created so naturally that readers from Chinese culture would find it fascinating and familiar, because it is the culture they are from. But for non-Chinese readers, these elements might be considered as purely irrational beliefs. However, even if these behaviors are regarded as superstition, there must be psychological reasons for it. Hamilton (1999) has written an article to explain that the communication problems occurred between the mothers and the daughters in The Joy Luck club lay on cultural differences – American tend to be rational, while Chinese tend to be superstitious. Xiumei (2006) conducted her thesis to study the element of Chinese “spirituality” and provided the analysis on how superstition swayed Luling and her daughter’s lives. Yet, psychological factors were not mentioned in either of the studies. In order to give non-Chinese readers a better understanding of the elements in Tan’s novels, psychological impacts of these beliefs were explained and taken as important factors for the characters in the novels to conduct their lives to a different outcome. In this research, traditional Chinese beliefs were narrowed to worship of ancestors, the five element, curse of the dead and signs of the zodiac. Episodes of Lindo Jong and An-Mei Hsu from The Joy Luck Club were analyzed to see how superstition influenced other people, and those of Liuxin Gu and Luling Young from The Bonesetter’s Daughter were examined to see how superstition affect one’s own mind.


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