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Fasting of the Heart Mother-Tradition and Sacred Systems in Amy Tans The Joy Luck Club Concentrate your will Hear not with your ears but with your mind not with your mind but with your spirit blank passively responsive to externals In such open receptivity only can Tao abide And in that open receptivity is fasting of the heart Chuangtze in Yutang 228 The Master said Look at the means a man em- ploys observe the path he takes and examine where he feels at home In what way is a mans true character hidden from view Confucius in Lau 64 Amy Tan weaves many elements of Taoism and Confucianism into the subtle fabric of The Joy Luck Club A reading of the text with attention to the way these two sacred systems interact between each mother and daughter offers a unique way to make sense of her group of loosely linked stories and ambiguous resolutions Taoism as a tradition is concerned with conflicts and ambiguities asserting that ambiguities themselves are significant and may point to the invisible core of life Tan may weave elements of Taoism into the narrative to locate the invisible core of Chinese womens culture of the immigrant family--and of the novel itself--within apparent conflicts or ambiguities Tans use of Confucianism may reveal her hypothesis of how a womens version of that patriarchal ethico-moral-ritual tradition might be passed down from mother to daughter and carried to America Just as in the Confucian ritual system very little of the mother-tradition in the text is told explicitly from mother to daughter ritual actions are supposed to be observed absorbed read and understood in order to be transformed preserved and handed down in turn I From a Taoist perspective the fact that The Joy Luck Club is divided into four sections of four stories each about four mothers and four daughters carries symbolic weight In Taoism see Appendices I II
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