'The Joy Luck Club' Quotes

Amy Tan's Famous Novel

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Amy Tan is best-known for The Joy Luck Club, a collection of vignettes meant to show how our lives are shaped by the stories we tell. Set in China and the United States, the stories cross the generational divide--as mothers and daughters attempt to come to terms with family history, relationships, and that connections between family and nations that are so hard to forge. Here are a few quotes from The Joy Luck Club.

  • "Over the years, she told me the same story, except for the ending, which grew darker, casting long shadows into her life, and eventually into mine."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 1
     
  • "Your father is not my first husband. You are not those babies."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 1
     
  • "Even though I was young, I could see the pain of the flesh and the worth of the pain."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 2
     
  • "I was no longer scared. I could see what was inside me."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 3
     
  • "After the gold was removed from my body I felt lighter, more free. They say this is what happens if you lack metal. You begin to think as an independent person."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 3
     
  • "For woman is yin, the darkness within, where untempered passions lie. And man is yang, bright truth lighting our minds."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 4
     
  • "Why do you have to use me to show off? If you want to show off, then why don't you learn to play chess."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 5
     
  • "This house was built too steep, and a bad wind from the top blows all your strength back down the hill. So you can never get ahead. You are always rolling backward."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 6
     
  • "I discovered that maybe it was fate all along, that faith was just an illusion that somehow you're in control."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 7
     
  • "My mother had a look on her face that I'll never forget. It was one of complete despair and horror, for losing Bing, for being so foolish as to think she could use faith to change fate."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 7
     
  • "I had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lots of won'ts. I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 8
     
  • "I was determined to put a stop to her foolish pride."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 8
     
  • "Only two kind of daughters. Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!"
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 8
     
  • "I began to look at all events and all things as relevant, an opportunity to take or avoid."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 9
     
  • "And I remember wondering why it was that eating something good could make me feel so terrible, while vomiting something terrible could make me feel so good."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 9
     
  • "Now that I'm angry at Harold, it's hard to remember what was so remarkable about him."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 9
     
  • "You are busy. You want to live like mess what can I say?"
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 10
     
  • "I saw what I had been fighting for: it was for me, a scared child."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 10
     
  • "And below the heimongmong, all along the ground, were weeds already spilling out over the edges, running wild in every direction."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 11
     
  • "True, cannot teach style. June not sophisticate like you. Must be born this way."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 12
     
  • "I felt tired and foolish, as if I had been running to escape someone chasing me, only to look behind and discover there was no one there."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 12
     
  • "Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club
     
  • "In my mother's case, this would be the first day of the lunar new year. And because it is the new year, all debts must be paid, or disaster and misfortune will follow."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 13
     
  • "I have always known a thing before it happens."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 14
     
  • "It is because I had so much joy that I came to have so much hate."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 14
     
  • "I wanted my children to have the best combination: American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I know these things do not mix?"
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 15
     
  • "Why are you attracted only to Chinese nonsense?"
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 15
     
  • "Look at this face. Do you see my foolish hope?"
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 16
     
  • "And now I also see what part of me is Chinese. It is so obvious. It is my family. It is in our blood."
    - Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Ch. 16