The Joy Luck Club


What is the significance of Suyuan's secret about her abandoned babies, in the relationship with her daughter, June? What significance was attached to the swan feather and how is it important/relevant?

Suyuan lost hope in Kweilin, she lost hope for herself when she abandoned the babies on the side of the road. When she went to America, she could leave all this behind. She had high hopes for her Daughter June, the swan feather also represents these hopes, it represents all of her good intentions.

Suyuan wants the very best for June "She had come here in 1949 after losing everything in China?and her two daughters, twin baby girls. But she never looked back with regret. There were so many ways for things to get better." Even Suyuan's name speaks of her hope for her daughter, "Long Cherished Wish". Suyuan's long-cherished wish is her daughter June, who she named Jing-mei, which means excellent, best quality, or pure essence. Jing-mei is the younger sister who was supposed to be the essence of the others. Suyuan thinks her daughter can do anything she wishes in America, she can be a prodigy, she can play the piano, and become famous. As Suyuan creates a better life in America, she perseveres with her determination, optimism, and strong will. These are exactly the kind of things she tries to pass on to her daughter when she forces her to play the piano. She says "Only ask you be your best. For you sake." In trying to do her best for June, she is trying to do for June, what she could never do for her other babies.

The conflicts that June and her mother face are based on misunderstandings and negligence concerning each other?s feelings and beliefs. June does not understand or know her mother fully because she does not really know about her tragic past and the pain she still feels from the memory of it. One conflict that the two experienced was after June failed to be a genius at playing the piano. Suyuan was angry that June had given up playing the piano, she was trying to force her to play more. June was also angry and as she was fighting with her mother she remembered the babies her mother left behind in China, she shouted "I wish I had never been born?I wish I were dead! Like them." This stunned Suyuan, she backed out of the room, and never said another word about playing the piano.

The swans feather carries with it all of Suyuan's hopes and good intentions. Suyuan never did get the opportunity to show June the feather in her life. After Suyuan?s death, and after June learns more of the details about her mother?s past, June becomes aware of the good intentions her mother always had for her in all of the ways that she acted. She realises that her mother was proud of her even though she was not a great genius at anything. June learnt the things her mother intended, and begins to understand the pendant, which represents "life's importance" after her mother died. When June goes to see her sisters, she does it for her mother as well. Just like the swan feather, she carries on to her sisters, all of Suyuan's hopes and good intentions.

The relationship that June and Suyuan had between each other was far from perfect. This is partially because of Suyuan failing the babies she left behind in China, it affects her and the relationship she has with June. The swan feather represents the dreams Suyuan hoped for when she left China. The swan feather shows that Suyuan has always hoped for the very best for June.