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101 Best Amy Tan Quotes From The Author Of 'The Joy Luck Club'

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Amy Tan was influenced a lot by her mother.

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Amy Tan was born in Oakland to immigrant parents from China and grew up as a Chinese-American.

This Chinese-American writer started writing by mainly focusing on the mother-daughter relationships amongst the Chinese American people. Her first novel, 'The Joy Luck Club' was a major success and revolved around four Chinese-American mothers and their four daughters.

Presently residing in San Francisco, the importance of Amy Tan in providing a voice to the Chinese-American community is irrefutable. Check out the following list of Amy Tan quotes about mother-daughter relationships, Amy Tan quotes about Chinese-American community and culture and many other quotes.

For more quotes from writers, check out Alice Walker quotes and Haruki Murakami quotes.

Awesome Amy Tan Quotes

Amy Tan has been attributed to many quotes over the years. Take a look at the best quotes from the Chinese-American writer of 'The Joy Luck Club'.

1. "Placing on writers the responsibility to represent a culture is an onerous burden. Someone who writes fiction is not necessarily writing a depiction of any generalized group, they're writing a very specific story."

-  From 'SALON' interview on 12 November 1995.

2. "I read a book a day when I was a kid. My family was not literary; we did not have any books in the house."

- Amy Tan.

3. "I don't feel the need to be a role model, it's just something that's been thrust upon me."

-  From 'SALON' interview on 12 November 1995.

4. "Hope is the adrenalin of the soul."

- Amy Tan.

5. "I find it happening less here partly because people are more aware now of the flaws of political correctness -that literature has to do something to educate people."

-  From 'SALON' interview on 12 November 1995.

6. "I also thought of playing improvisational jazz and I did take lessons for a while. At first, I tried to write fiction by making up things that were completely alien to my life."

- 'Amy Tan: Author Extraordinaire' By Tamra Orr, 2009.

7. "I would still like to have that luxury, to be able to just sit and draw for hours and hours and hours. In a way, that's what I do as a writer."

- Amy Tan.

8. "All of us go through angst and identity crises. And even when you write in a specific context, you still tap into that subtext of emotions that we all feel about love and hope, and mothers and obligations and responsibilities."

-  From 'SALON' interview on 12 November 1995.

9. "I wanted to write stories for myself. At first it was purely an aesthetic thing about craft. I just wanted to become good at the art of something. And writing was very private."

- Amy Tan.

10. "People have such terrible assumptions about ghosts -- you know, phantoms that haunt you, that make you scared, that turn the house upside down. Yin people are not in our living presence but are around, and kind of guide you to insights."

-  From 'SALON' interview on 12 November 1995.

11. "Once the fiction-writing mind is freed, there are no censors, no prohibitions. It is curious and open to anything. But its most important trait is this: it seeks a story, a narrative that reveals what happened and why it happened."

- 'Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir', 2017.

12. "We often think that the memories we recover are those that immediately come to mind, but some memories really wend their way back into consciousness through many different means."

- From the Shondaland interview in 2017.

13. "I am not the subject matter of mothers and daughters or Chinese culture or immigrant experience that most people cite as my domain."

- 'Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir', 2017.

14.  "I am full of contradictions. ... I am full of wavering questions."

- From the Fresh Air audio interview in 2017.

15. "I thought it might be helpful for people to see how truly difficult it is for me to write. How much I struggle."

- From the Shondaland interview in 2017.

16. "I don't consider myself any religion. I'm not an atheist. I have an amalgam of beliefs that [have] to do with Christianity, a little bit with Buddhism. I observe things that make me understand people."

- From the Fresh Air audio interview in 2017.

17. "Who we become has so much to do with the experiences we had, and how we survived."

- From the Shondaland interview in 2017.

18. "I don't remember the exact age, but my mother said to me, 'You are not as good as a man.'  She said, 'You are better, and you have to work harder to prove to them that you are.'"

- From the Fresh Air audio interview in 2017.

19. "Events and memories are going to emerge according to their importance and how they shaped me."

- From The Guardian interview in 2018.

20. "I share these imperfect things, saying, 'You can do stuff, even though it’s not perfect! That is not the goal. You can just enjoy it and put it out there and share it.'"

- From the Shondaland interview in 2017.

21. "As a consequence of these experiences with death at a very early age, death is something I think about every single day."

- From the Fresh Air audio interview in 2017.

22. "I’m in love with birds, so reading about them and looking at the birds right outside my office brings me to that space without interrupting what I am writing."

- From The Guardian interview in 2018.

23. "It took me eight years to write the last novel. It seems like with every novel, it gets harder and harder."

- From Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference, 2017.

24. "Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses."

- 'The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings', 2004.

25. "It's both rebellion and conformity that attack you with success."

- Amy Tan.

26. "I saw my mother in a different light. We all need to do that. You have to be displaced from what's comfortable and routine, and then you get to see things with fresh eyes, with new eyes."

- Amy Tan.

27. "It was like when you go to the circus and you’re about to see the next act. You’re looking forward to it but you’re also scared out of your mind. You’re worried that the trapeze artist is going to die."

- From the pw.org interview in 2017.

28. "It's a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life."

- Amy Tan.

29. "The process was surprising, shocking. It was exhilarating, a mix of emotions. It brought about those things you get out of writing—you know, you have these epiphanies and discoveries. It was an affirmation of why we write."

- From the pw.org interview in 2017.

30. "I would find myself laughing and wondering where these ideas came from. You can call it imagination, I suppose. But I was grateful for wherever they came from."

- Amy Tan.

31. "I tried to copy somebody’s style that I thought was very clever. I thought I was clever enough to write as well as these people, and I didn’t realize that there is something called originality and your own voice."

- From Achievement.Org interview in 1996.

32. "I was writing about things, and these moments would come up spontaneously, intuitively, naturally, as part of a narrative in which I was trying to make sense of a story."

- From the pw.org interview in 2017.

33. "God, life changes faster than you think."

- From Achievement.Org interview in 1996.

34. "Sometimes you write something and it becomes almost retribution, a desire to get even."

- From the pw.org interview in 2017.

35. "It's important to give others a sense of hope that it is possible and you can come from really different places in the world and find your own place in the world that's unique for yourself."

- From Achievement.Org interview in 1996.

36. "I always thought as I wrote fiction that I was making discoveries, deep discoveries. I was surprised by how much deeper these went as I was writing this memoir. How much more trouble the memories are and how much more risk I had to take to go into it."

- From the pw.org interview in 2017.

37. "I was intelligent enough to make up my own mind. I not only had freedom of choice, I had freedom of expression."

- Amy Tan.

38. "I am much closer to who I am when I am writing fiction, but there is still a separation."

- From the pw.org interview in 2017.

39. "You see the undercurrents of change and culture and that is history. It’s those behaviors that are important. History really is a record of behaviors and intentions and actions and consequences."

- From Achievement.Org interview in 1996.

40.  "Fiction offers us a subterfuge—I keep using this word—it’s almost similar to donning a costume when I go onstage as a ridiculous singer."

- From the pw.org interview in 2017.

41. I write my fiction in the first person but writing memoir is truly first person."

- From the pw.org interview in 2017.

'The Joy Luck Club' Quotes About Culture & Life

The books of Amy Tan are bestsellers.

'The Joy Luck Club' was a defining novel of the '90s dealing with the females of the Chinese-American community. Amy Tan used many of her personal experiences in this book. 'The Joy Luck Club' was later adapted into a movie. You will also find some amazing mother tongue quotes from Amy Tan here.

42. "And now I also see what part of me is Chinese. It is so obvious. It is my family. It is in our blood."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

43. "I’m shaking, trying to hold something inside. The last time I saw them, at the funeral, I had broken down and cried big gulping sobs. They must wonder how someone like me can take my mother’s place."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

44. "'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."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

45. "It is because I had so much joy that I came to have so much hate."

- Ying Ying.

46. "I discovered that maybe it was fate all along, that faith was just an illusion that somehow you’re in control."

- Rose Hsu Jordan.

47. "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."

- Lindo Jong.

48. "My mother had a look on her face that I’ll never forget. It was one of complete despair and horror, for losing Bing, for being so foolish as to think she could use faith to change fate."

- Rose Hsu Jordan.

49. "I felt tired and foolish, as if I had been running to escape someone chasing me, only to look behind and discover there was no one there."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

50. "They see that joy and luck do not mean the same to their daughters, that to these closed American-born minds 'joy luck' is not a word, it does not exist."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

51. "I saw what I had been fighting for: it was for me, a scared child."

- Waverly Jong.

52. "This house was built too steep, and a bad wind from the top blows all your strength back down the hill. So you can never get ahead. You are always rolling backward."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

53. "Her wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into the darkness and dissolve."

- Ying-Ying.

54. "I didn’t know what to do or say. In a matter of seconds it seemed, I had gone from being angered by her strength, to being amazed by her innocence, and then frightened by her vulnerability."

- Waverly Jong.

55. "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."

- Lindo Jong.

56.  "Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever."

- The Grandmother

57. "In America, nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you."

- Lindo Jong.

58. "The gray-green surface changes to the bright colors of our three images, sharpening and deepening all at once. And although we don’t speak, I know we all see it: Together we look like our mother."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

59. "Her eyes looking back do not reflect anything. I think this to myself even though I love my daughter."

- Ying-Ying.

60. "I made a promise to myself: I would always remember my parents’ wishes, but I would never forget myself."

- Lindo Jong.

Quotes From 'Two Kinds' By Amy Tan

Amy Tan primarily deals with the mother and daughter relationship in her fiction.

'Two Kinds' was a short story written by Amy Tan which later became the first chapter of 'The Joy Luck Club'. 'Two Kinds' quotes specifically deal with the growing up of a young Chinese-American girl. Here are some 'Two Kinds' by Amy Tan quotes.

61. "My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

62. "In all of my imaginings I was filled with a sense that I would soon become perfect: My mother and father would adore me."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

63. "Who ask you to be genius? Only ask you be your best. For you sake."

- The Mother.

64. "She seemed entranced by the music, a frenzied little piano piece with a mesmerizing quality, which alternated between quick, playful passages and teasing, lilting ones."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

65. "If she had as much talent as she has temper, she'd be famous now."

- The Mother.

66. "And after seeing, once again, my mother's disappointed face, something inside me began to die."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

67. "...as if inspired by an old unreachable itch, he would gradually add more notes and running trills and a pounding bass until the music was really something quite grand."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

68. "It felt like worms and toads and slimy things crawling out of my chest, but it also felt good, that this awful side of me had surfaced, at last."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

69. "I looked at my reflection, blinking so that I could see more clearly. The girl staring back at me was angry, powerful."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

70. "Mr. Chong, whom I secretly nicknamed Old Chong, was very strange, always tapping his fingers to the silent music of an invisible orchestra."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

71. "Only two kind of daughters. Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!"

- The Mother.

72. "I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

73. "I had been waiting for her to start shouting, so that I could shout back and cry and blame her for all my misery."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

74.  "I daydreamed about being somewhere else, about being someone else."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

75. "You have natural talent. You could be a genius if you want to...You just not trying."

- The Mother.

76. "I remember my childish excitement. It was as if I knew, without a doubt, that the prodigy side of me really did exist."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

77. "Neither of us talked about it again, as if it were a betrayal that was now unspeakable."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

78. "I felt the shame of my mother and father as they sat stiffly through the rest of the show."

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

79. "And even worse, I never asked her about what frightened me the most: Why had she given up hope?"

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

80. "But my mother's expression was what devastated me: a quiet, blank look that said she had lost everything. "

- Jing-mei (June) Woo.

Amy Tan Book Quotes

Here are some Amy Tan quotes from other books written by this pioneering Chinese-American writer.

81. "Whenever I'm with my mother, I feel as though I have to spend the whole time avoiding land mines."

- 'The Hundred Secret Senses', 1995.

82. "Writing what you wished was the most dangerous form of wishful thinking."

- 'The Bonesetter's Daughter', 2001.

83. "That is the saddest part when you lose someone you love — that person keeps changing. And later you wonder.. is this the same person I lost?"

- 'The Kitchen God's Wife', 1991.

84. "A mother is always the beginning. She is how things begin."

- 'The Bonesetter's Daughter', 2001.

85. "We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming - well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate."

- 'The Hundred Secret Senses', 1995.

86. "I hid my deepest feelings so well I forgot where I placed them."

- 'Saving Fish From Drowning', 2005.

87. "Too much happiness always overflowed into tears of sorrow."

- 'The Hundred Secret Senses', 1995.

88. "That was how dishonesty and betrayal started, not in big lies but in small secrets."

- 'The Bonesetter's Daughter', 2001.

89. "Words are more ardent if a man must struggle to find them."

- 'The Hundred Secret Senses', 1995.

90. "You remember only what you want to remember. You know only what your heart allows you to know."

- 'Saving Fish From Drowning', 2005.

91. "After all, Bao Bomu says, what is the past but what we choose to remember?"

- 'The Bonesetter's Daughter', 2001.

92. "Maybe you lost more maybe less, then thousand different things that come from your memory or imagination - and you do not know which is which, which was true, which is false."

- 'The Kitchen God's Wife', 1991.

93. "I just want someone who thinks I’m number one in his life. I’m not willing to accept emotional scraps anymore."

- 'The Hundred Secret Senses', 1995.

94.  "Chaos is the penance for leisure."

- 'The Bonesetter's Daughter', 2001.

95. "Isn't that what love is-losing your mind? You don't care what people think."

- 'Saving Fish From Drowning', 2005.

96. "Sure I loved him - too much. And he loved me, only not enough. "

- 'The Hundred Secret Senses', 1995.

Praise & Quotes About Amy Tan

Take a look at these quotes praising Amy Tan as a writer and as a person.

97. "Amy Tan has managed to express the sense and sensibility of being Chinese in a remarkably accessible way, while remaining uncompromisingly true to her own experience, her own vision."

- Scarlet Cheng, critic.

98. "One of the first things you notice about Amy Tan is the razor-sharp precision with which she talks."

- Harsimran Gill, journalist.

99. "She embodies what’s most important about this city, what we love about it."

- Armistead Maupin, American writer.

100."I’ve known Amy since before she became Chinese again."

- Ben Fong-Torres, American writer.

101. "Don't worry about the obstacle of the framework of this novel, simply give yourself over to the world Ms. Tan creates for you. It's the story she tells that really matters."

- Rob Forman Dew, critic.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Amy Tan quotes then why not take a look at [Stephen Kings quotes], or [Salman Rushdie quotes].

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