The Joy Luck Club

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Jing-mei “June” Woo

June is the main narrator in The Joy Luck Club, as her vignettes specifically bridge the histories between mothers and daughters, and between childhood memories and present-day events. She also has the most stories… (read full character analysis)

Suyuan Woo

Suyuan’s death is what sets off the events of The Joy Luck Club. Therefore, unlike the other mothers and daughters in the novel, who actively narrate their histories through the novel, Suyuan is only… (read full character analysis)

An-mei Hsu

An-mei is the narrator of “Scar” and “Magpies,” and her stories revolve around the sacrifices of her disgraced mother. When she is four, An-mei’s father dies and her mother is exiled from the family for… (read full character analysis)

Rose Hsu Jordan

Rose is the narrator of “Half and Half” and “Without Wood.” She has two sisters and three living brothers; her youngest brother Bing drowned when he was four years old while fourteen-year-old Rose was supposed… (read full character analysis)

Lindo Jong

Lindo is the narrator of “The Red Candle” and “Double Face.” She is a Horse in the Chinese Zodiac, which predetermines a strong and hardworking nature. At only two years old, Lindo is arranged to… (read full character analysis)
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Waverly Jong

Waverly is the narrator of “Rules of the Game” and “Four Directions.” Her stories center on her experiences as a child chess prodigy, and the tension between her and her mother, Lindo, who often… (read full character analysis)

Ying-ying St. Clair

Ying-ying is the narrator of “The Moon Lady” and “Waiting Between the Trees.” Though outwardly appearing as the quietest and most meek of the Joy Luck Club members, Ying-ying identifies as a Tiger in the… (read full character analysis)

Lena St. Clair

Lena is also a Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac, like her mother Ying-ying. She grew up in a biracial household with two languages, and subsequently acted like an interpreter between her white father and… (read full character analysis)

Canning Woo

Suyuan’s second husband and June’s father. He insists that June take over Suyuan’s spot in the Joy Luck Club, sparking the novel’s chain of events. He is aware of Suyuan’s first family and… (read full character analysis)

Clifford St. Clair

Ying-ying’s husband and Lena’s father. He is an American of English and Irish descent, who meets Ying-ying in China while completing military service. He barely speaks Chinese, which creates a large emotional barrier… (read full character analysis)


Popo is An-mei’s maternal grandmother, who raises her from ages four to nine. She warns An-mei to never speak of An-mei’s mother, and tells her frightening bedtime stories that scare her into obedience… (read full character analysis)

An-mei’s mother

An-mei’s mother is forced to leave the family home by her own mother, Popo, after her first husband dies and she (shamefully in the eyes of the community) becomes the unimportant fourth wife… (read full character analysis)

Wu Tsing

A rich merchant who rapes An-mei’s mother and forces her to marry him rather than have a shameful pregnancy out of wedlock. He is very superstitious, and An-mei’s mother has her revenge by killing herself… (read full character analysis)

Second Wife

The second wife of Wu Tsing, who despises An-mei’s mother for being younger and more beautiful than she is. She forcibly takes An-mei’s mother’s new baby boy from her and adopts him, making Wu… (read full character analysis)


Lindo’s former husband. They are betrothed when Tyan-yu is only one year old. Incredibly spoiled by his mother, Tyan-yu grows up to be an immature, underdeveloped adolescent who wants nothing to do with Lindo… (read full character analysis)


Ying-ying’s childhood nanny. Amah does the majority of parenting when Ying-ying is young, as Ying-ying’s wealthy parents spend their time in leisure. Though she affectionately cares for Ying-ying, she’s also aware that her job… (read full character analysis)

Rich Schields

Waverly’s fiancé. He is very romantic in their relationship, and believes in the power of love despite Waverly’s hesitation to remarry after a failed first marriage. Rich reveals how ignorant he is about Chinese… (read full character analysis)

Wang Chwun Yu

One of Suyuan’s twin daughters from her first marriage. She is rescued between the cities Kweilin and Chungking in 1944, after Suyuan places her and her twin on a busy road. Suyuan, fearing that… (read full character analysis)

Wang Chwun Hwa

One of Suyuan’s twin daughters from her first marriage. She is rescued between the cities Kweilin and Chungking in 1944, after Suyuan places her and her twin on a busy road. Suyuan, fearing that… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Tin Jong
Lindo’s second husband and Waverly’s father. He meets Lindo while working in an American factory, though they initially can’t communicate since he speaks a Cantonese dialect and she speaks Mandarin.
Huang Taitai
Lindo’s former mother-in-law. Huang Taitai is haughty and cruel to Lindo, and overly doting to her son, Tyan-yu. Lindo tricks her into believing bad omens foretell a doomed marriage between Lindo and Tyan-yu, and convinces her to let her out of the otherwise unbreakable marriage contract.
Bing Hsu
An-mei’s youngest son and Rose’s little brother. He drowns when he’s four years old during a family trip to the Pacific Ocean. An-mei sacrifices expensive jewelry to the ocean in exchange for giving him back, but his body is never recovered.
Ted Jordan
Rose’s ex-husband. He believes Rose is incapable of making decisions and taking equal responsibility in their marriage, which leads to his unexpected demand for a divorce. Rose later learns that Ted has been having an affair during his frequent business trips to medical conferences.
Harold Livotny
Lena’s estranged husband and her boss at an architectural firm. At first, he and Lena try to split all expense evenly, despite mismatched incomes. Later, she grows resentful of the division and feels powerless compared to him.
Shoshana Chen
Waverly’s daughter. Waverly reveals that she originally planned to abort Shoshana, but changed her mind when she learned the baby had already started developing limbs inside her. Shoshana is energetic and curious, but slightly spoiled by Waverly and Lindo.