Books and Movies Reviews

Joy Luck Club-Magpies Summary

The story starts with An-mei Hsu talking about her daughter's (Rose Hsu Jordan) troubled marriage and how it's starting to fall apart. Rose thinks she is severely suffering and all she can do is lie down on a psychiatrist's couch squeezing tears out of shame. This triggers powerful memories for An-mei Hsu who gradually starts to remember her own past. Now she sees herself in her daughter's pain and remembers what she tried to conceal. Only her tears were generated by more than just shame.
Sixty years ago, An-mei remembers seeing her mother for thefirst time. Popo (grandmother) had sent her mother away because she had dishonored her family and her widowhood by becoming the third concubine to a rich man.
It was only when An-mei was nine years old and her grandmother was terminally ill (and eventually died) that Mother came back to take care of Popo, and An-mei finally realized her mother was not as evil as her aunt, uncle and Popo had portrayed her to be.
After caring for Popo and after many arguments with her brother Mother finally managed to take her daughter back to Tientsin where she lived with her rich husband and his other wives.
Life in Tientsin was very comfortable. Foreign luxuries from boiled peanuts to elegant Victorian dresses were introduced to An-mei. She lived in a spacious new house with her mother and many servants and did not question her happiness.
Soon the Fifth wife (a young beautiful woman) arrived home with Wu Tsing (the husband of all five wives) and, while everything seemed peaceful, it was not. Her mother's position was low and shameful, as a fourth wife is less than a fifth.
The Second wife (Big Mother) and Third wife, their children and servants returned home to Tientsin. Big mother had a son named Syaudi who now became
An-mei's smallest brother and Third wife had three daughters who became An-mei's sisters.