The following study questions for the film version of "Joy Luck Club" were written by Prof. Sienkewicz for his Freshman Seminar at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois. If you have comments or suggestions about this material, you may contact Prof. Sienkewicz at

"Joy Luck Club"

a film based upon a novel of the same name, by Amy Tan

Study Questions1. Why is the story of a swan told at the beginning of the film? What is the meaning of the swan feather? Watch for the recurrence of this story and of the feather throughout the film.

2. What is the occasion for the party around which the film takes place?

3. What is the Joy Luck Club? Who are its members? What do they do in this club?

4. Why was June's piano playing so important to her mother? How does this affect their life-long relationship?

5. What does June think happened to her mother's twin daughters in China?

6. Why did Lindo Jong's mother promise her in marriage at a young age? How does this affect their relationship? Describe her wedding night. How does she get out of this unhappy marriage?

7. Describe Richard's mistakes at the dinner table. Why are these so significant?

8. How does Lindo Jong's relationship with her mother affect the way she treats her daughter Waverly?

9. How did Ying-ying meet her first husband in China? Pay particular attention to the watermelon and dance hall scenes. What do these suggest about the relationship and the character of her husband? What happens to her infant son? Why?

10. How does Lena's marriage parallel her mother's first marriage?

11. Why was An-mei Hsu taught as a child to hate her mother?

12. How did An-mei's mother get married to her second husband?

13. What does An-mei's mother do to show her devotion to her mother and to try to save her life?

14. What does Mrs. Jordan try to tell Rose Hsu the first time she meets her? How does this affect her boyfriend?

15. An-mei tells her daughter Rose that she is just like her grandmother because she does not realize what she is worth. What does An-mei mean? How does this conversation affect the way that Rose acts towards her estranged husband?

16. How did An-mei's mother become married to her second husband? What happened to her son? Why did An-mei's mother commit suicide?

17. How did An-mei act at her mother's funeral? What lesson does she want her daughter to learn from this story?

18. What happens at the last Chinese New Year celebration that June's mother is alive? What does her mother give her? Why?

19. What story does June's father tell her the night before she leaves for China.

20. Describe the meeting between June and her half-sisters in China.

21. I will tell them this feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and it carries all of my good intentions." How does this sentence summarize the message of the entire film?