George Seaver English Paper 2/20/01"The Joy Luck Club " Mrs. Wells The "Joy Luck Club," by Amy Tan, is a collection of short stories about the relationships between Chinese born mothers and their American born daughters. The story called "Four Directions" is about a woman named Waverly Jong. The story is about Waverly trying to tell her mother that she is getting married to a American man named Richard. Waverly was a chess champion as while she was a young girl and she remembers the strategy that she used in her matches, and in her life, as she tries to tell her mother about a marriage to an American man. Waverly's mother was raised in China under Chinese traditions.
Waverly's mother wants Waverly to marry a Chinese man and dos not want Waverly to marry an American man. As Waverly brings us through her decision making process, she questions the Chinese traditions that her mother strictly follows. Since Waverly grew up in an American society, she has lost the Chinese traditions that her mother has tried to teach her and therefore has weakened the bond between Waverly and her mother. As Waverly brings her mother through her house, Waverly lets her mom see the male items that are around to hint to her mother that she is living with a man, like his clothes around the bedroom and his barbells on the floor. Waverly goes to her closet and shows her mother the fur coat that Richard had given to her. After seeing the coat, Waverly's mom says:" This is not so good,' she said at last.
'It is just leftover strips. And the fur is too short, no long hairs." (p. 186) The fur coat that Richard had given to Waverly was supposed to be a very nice gift and a symbol of how much their relationship meant to one another. Waverly's mom, unknowingly to Waverly, has realized that she is living with a man. The reason that Waverly's mom has insulted the gift is because she does not want Waverly to marry Richard. Waverly's mom wants Waverly to Break the relationship that she has with Richard.
Waverly's mom is telling Waverly that the coat that Richard gave her is not a nice one, but a cheap one and that he doesn't care enough for Waverly to buy her nice things. Waverly's mother would rather for Waverly to marry a Chinese man instead of an American man like Richard. Waverly and her mother are eating together at a Chinese Restaurant in San Francisco. Waverly's mother is complaining about how nothing in the restaurant is as good as a real Chinese rest restaurant in China. Waverly's mom is complaining about a lot of things in the restaurant, like the tea being the wrong flavor of the soup not being hot enough. Waverly's mother is so unhappy with the way the restaurant is that she makes a scene about everything that she finds unsatisfactory and decides to give the waiter no tip." My mother pulled back the dollar bills and counted out exact change, 13 cents, and put it on the tray instead, explaining firmly: 'No tip!" (p.
184) Waverly's mother is very firm on where she stands on certain issues. She looks at American society and the way that we do things and she thinks that it is all wrong because she was brought up with different tradition than the ones that we have here in the United States. Almost exactly as she did as a child, Waverly tries to use a strategy in the way that she gets her mother to except Richard into their family, like she was playing chess. Waverly decides that she will bring Richard to dinner at her aunt's house. Richard and Waverly eat dinner there and soon Waverly's mother invites Richard and Waverly to the mothers house for dinner. "I knew she would do this, because cooking was how my mother expressed her love, her pride, her power, her proof that she knew more that Auntie Su.
'Just be sure to tell her later that her cooking was the best you ever tasted, that it was far better that Auntie Su's.' I told Rich. 'Believe me." (p. 195) Waverly says this because she wants her mother to believe that Richard is a great guy. Waverly wants her mother to except rich as a son in law as if he were a Chinese man. But, like the strategy's used against each other while Waverly was a child, Waverly's mom, as predicted by Waverly, will see through her strategy and come back with her own strategy which will be stronger that hers and make her feel ashamed to have come to dinner with Richard.
"I already knew what she would do, how she would attack him, how she would criticize him. She would be quiet at first. Then she would say a word about something small, something that she had noticed, and then another word, and another, each one flung out like a piece of sand, one from this direction, another from behind, more and more, until his looks, his character, his sole had eroded away. And even if I recognized her strategy, her sneak attack, I was afraid that some unseen speck of truth would fly into my eye, blur what I was seeing and transform him from the divine man I though the was into someone quite mundane, mortally wounded with tiresome habits and irritating imperfections." (p. 191) Waverly thinks that even though she might be able to see it coming. Her mother would be able to break Richard and her.
Waverly thinks about how her mother would attack Richard, who would not expect it, from all directions. Waverly sees her mother as a barrier that is in her way, not as someone that she should be asking for advice from. Since Waverly's mom is against Waverly's and Richards relationship Waverly chooses to stay with Richard and let the bond between Waverly and her mother disintegrate.