Procedures:                                                                                                                Print Questions: .docx / .doc


1) Read the novel excerpts and the related texts together in groups or as a class

2) Clarify meaning in groups or as a class. Student/Teacher reads. Student summarizes

3) In pairs or in groups, discuss the textual content and quotations

4) In pairs or in groups, discuss the conversation questions (include your own questions)

5) As a class, take turns using the conversation questions to expand your ideas

Novels 101 ~ The Joy Luck Club ~ Amy Tan ~

Courtesy of  Sparknotes


¡°What will I say? What can I tell them about my mother? I don¡¯t know anything. . . .¡± The aunties are looking at me as if I had become crazy right before their eyes. . . . And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant. . . . They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese . . . who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from generation to generation.

Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club


I . . . looked in the mirror. . . . I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind. . . . And then I draped the large embroidered red scarf over my face and covered these thoughts up. But underneath the scarf I still knew who I was. I made a promise to myself: I would always remember my parents¡¯ wishes, but I would never forget myself.
Amy Tan, 
The Joy Luck Club


¡°A mother is best. A mother knows what is inside you,¡± she said. . . . ¡°A psyche-atricks will only make you hulihudu, make you see heimongmong.¡± Back home, I thought about what she said. . . . [These] were words I had never thought about in English terms. I suppose the closest in meaning would be ¡°confused¡± and ¡°dark fog.¡±But really, the words mean much more than that. Maybe they can¡¯t be easily translated because they refer to a sensation that only Chinese people have. . . .

Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club


Her wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into the darkness and dissolve. Her eyes looking back do not reflect anything. I think this to myself even though I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body. . . . But when she was born, she sprang from me like a slippery fish, and has been swimming away ever since. All her life, I have watched her as though from another shore. And now I must tell her everything about my past. It is the only way to . . . pull her to where she can be saved.

Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

I wanted my children to have the best combination: American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I know these two things do not mix? I taught [my daughter] how American circumstances work. If you are born poor here, it¡¯s no lasting shame. . . . In America, nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you. She learned these things, but I couldn¡¯t teach her about Chinese character . . . How not to show your own thoughts, to put your feelings behind your face so you can take advantage of hidden opportunities. . . . Why Chinese thinking is best.

Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club


Click here for Author¡¯s Biography, Plot Overview, and Explanation of Quotes courtesy of Sparknotes


~ General Conversation Questions ~


Group A


1) What challenges and/or forms of communication do immigrants living in the US face? Discuss.

2) What challenges and/or forms of communication do immigrants in your own country face? Explain.

3) What are the role of mothers and fathers in your country? What kind of rules are there? Explain.

4) Do you have or have you had any long distance relationships? How do you communicate? Tell.

5) The women in this novel meet regularly. Are these kind of meetings common in your country?


Group B


1) What is the role of storytelling? How are stories communicated in your country? Explain.

2) Can you tell a story that¡¯s important to you, your family, or your country? Please share.

3) Can you define gender, sexism, and LGBT ? Are they shunned in your community? Tell. 

4) Characters often sacrifice comfort for love in this novel. Why do you think people do this?

5) The novel addresses the mistreatment of women by men. Is this common in your country? Explain.


Challenge: Make your own follow-up questions and discuss them.




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