The Joy Luck Club

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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 be married to a spoiled boy named Tyan-yu, based on their compatible zodiac signs. When she goes to live with Tyan-yu’s family at the age of twelve, Tyan-yu’s mother, Huang Taitai, abuses Lindo like an indentured servant. The marriage is short-lived, as Lindo ingeniously plans a way to get out of her marital contract. Lindo sees this ingenuity inherited in her daughter Waverly, but fears her daughter is too Americanized to ever appreciate her Chinese heritage.

Lindo Jong Quotes in The Joy Luck Club

The The Joy Luck Club quotes below are all either spoken by Lindo Jong or refer to Lindo Jong. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of The Joy Luck Club published in 2006.
Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

I once sacrificed my life to keep my parents’ promise. This means nothing to you, because to you promises mean nothing. A daughter can promise to come to dinner, but if she has a headache, if she has a traffic jam, if she wants to watch a favorite movie on TV, she no longer has a promise.

Related Characters: Lindo Jong (speaker), Waverly Jong
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

The passage begins on an aggressive note: the parent, Lindo Jong, speaks about her child, Waverley Jong. Lindo thinks of herself as being a faithful, respectful daughter--i.e., one who honors her promises to her parents at all costs. Lindo's own daughter, by contrast, is flighty and unpredictable--sometimes she keeps her promises, and sometimes she doesn't. According to Lindo, anything is wrong with Waverley (a headache, for example), Waverly breaks her word.

Lindo's tone is clearly frustrated: she weighs her daughter's loyalty to her against her own loyalty to her own parents, and concludes that Waverly is somehow an inferior daughter. Lindo's speech shows the strengths, but also the limits, of the mother-daughter relationship. Daughters show incredible loyalty to their parents, and vice-versa, but sometimes, such loyalty can fade away, or be placed behind other priorities--and perhaps it's irrational for a parent to demand total loyalty of her daughter.

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I had no choice, now or later. That was how backward families in the country were. We were always the last to give up stupid old-fashioned customs. In other cities already, a man could choose his own wife, with his parents’ permission of course. But we were cut off from this new type of thought. You never heard if ideas were better in another city, only if they were worse.

Related Characters: Lindo Jong (speaker)
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

In this story, Lindo tells us about her betrothal. It may be surprising for some readers to hear that Lindo was betrothed to another man, Tyan-Yu, when she was only two years old. In her part of China at the time, Lindo explains, betrothals and marriages were usually determined by Zodiac signs, rather than love between two adults. Lindo acknowledges that there were many more forward-thinking communities in China where adults could choose their partners (but only men, never women). However, in Lindo's community, the old-fashioned Zodiac method was still popular.

Lindo's comments are important because they clarify the fact that Chinese culture isn't one monolithic object: China encompasses an incredible variety of traditions and cultures, and it's wrong to lump them all together, as so many Americans do.

Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

I was six when my mother taught me the art of invisible strength. It was a strategy for winning arguments, respect from others, and eventually, though neither of us knew it at the time, chess games.

Related Characters: Waverly Jong (speaker), Lindo Jong
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

The chapter begins on a relatively optimistic note: Waverly, a young girl, learns from her mother, Lindo, how to be strong and determined at all times. Lindo recognizes that Waverly is a loud child, and she tries to teach her daughter how to be quiet. And yet Lindo isn't teaching Waverly to be meek or submissive: rather, Lindo teaches Waverly how to take care of herself and project inner confidence, without ever saying a word. Waverly's "invisible strength" later helps her succeed in the game of chess.

The passage is a good example of how a mother can pass on lessons to her child without limiting the child's freedom or angering the child. Lindo doesn't want her daughter to be passive or weak; she teaches Waverly strength. In general, then, the passage shows--at least for now--a supportive relationship between mother and daughter. 

Part 3, Chapter 2 Quotes

That’s what she is. A Horse, born in 1918, destined to be obstinate and frank to the point of tactlessness. She and I make a bad combination, because I’m a Rabbit, born in 1951, supposedly sensitive, with tendencies toward being thin-skinned and skittery at the first sign of criticism.

Related Characters: Waverly Jong (speaker), Lindo Jong
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Waverly complains that she and her mother are destined to never get along, thanks to their incompatible Zodiac signs. Waverly is thin-skinned, while Lindo is frank and tactless--together, they just make each other miserable. Waverly makes no real effort to get along with her mother anymore--instead, she throws up her hands and says that they'll never get along.

The passage is interesting because although it shows the conflict between Waverly and her mother, it also shows the deep connection between them, rooted in their common knowledge of Chinese culture. Even two people whose Zodiac signs are incompatible have one thing in common: they both believe in the same Zodiac. Subtly, then, the passage communicates the unshakable bond between Waverly and Lindo, a bond that's tied to their Chinese heritage. (Yet this particular part of their heritage--the idea that the Zodiac predicts one's personal qualities--also keeps them apart, as they feel they are "fated" to never get along.)

And my mother loved to show me off, like one of the many trophies she polished. She used to discuss my games as if she had devised the strategies… and a hundred other useless things that had nothing to do with my winning.

Related Characters: Waverly Jong (speaker), Lindo Jong
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:

Waverly becomes deeply resentful of her mother's pride in her chess victories. Although Waverly is happy with her victories, she's worried that her mother isn't really concerned with Waverly's happiness or success; Lindo is more concerned about taking the credit for her daughter's games. Waverly begins to think of herself as a mere object for her mother's gratification: a "trophy" to be shown off to Lindo's friends and associates.

The passage shows the extent of the rift between Waverly and Lindo. Waverly is a talented person, but her interest in her chess games is second to her obsession with her own mother. Waverly can't stop thinking about Lindo--she's fixated on Lindo to the point where she can't concentrate on strategy anymore. Thus, the passage could be considered an example of a mother-daughter relationship that's self-destructive, rather than mutually beneficial. 

Part 4, Chapter 4 Quotes

"You don’t understand," I protested.
"What I don’t understand?" she said.
And then I whispered, "They’ll think I’m responsible, that she died because I didn’t appreciate her."
And Auntie Lindo looked satisfied and sad at the same time, as if this were true and I had finally realized it.

Related Characters: Jing-mei “June” Woo (speaker), Lindo Jong (speaker), Suyuan Woo
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, June talks to her mother's friend, Lindo. June is preparing to reunite with her long-lost sisters--the girls whom Suyuan left back in China when she came to America. June feels guilty about her mother's death, and the thought of having to appear before her long-lost sisters makes her feel even guiltier; she imagines that her sisters will blame her for her mother's death. June voices her anxieties to Lindo, and Lindo seems to look satisfied, as if June is only just realizing the truth.

Has June "killed" her mother through neglect? It would be wrong to say so, and Tan leaves open the possibility that Lindo doesn't truly agree with June's suggestion--perhaps June is only projecting her own guilt onto Lindo's face (and Lindo also looks "sad" here, whether because she thinks this suggestion is false or because she thinks it's tragically true). It really is the case, however, that June has turned her back on Suyuan, being unnecessarily harsh with her mother; as a result, Suyuan's life has been sad and lonely. June feels guilty about seeing her sisters because they never had the opportunity to even meet their mother, much less be frustrated by and unappreciative of her.

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Lindo Jong Character Timeline in The Joy Luck Club

The timeline below shows where the character Lindo Jong appears in The Joy Luck Club. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1: The Joy Luck Club
Storytelling and Tradition Theme Icon
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
...in America in 1949 with new participants, after immigrating to California and meeting An-mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-ying St. Clair at the San Francisco Refugee Welcome Center. In the eyes... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...however, she died before having the chance to contact them. The three women – An-mei, Lindo, and Ying-ying – ask June to fulfill her mother’s greatest wish of reconnecting with her... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Storytelling and Tradition Theme Icon
...after a lifetime of being raised by her. June recognizes that behind the anger, An-mei, Lindo, and Ying-ying are actually afraid that their own daughters would have the same reaction as... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Red Candle
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Lindo opens the chapter by saying she “sacrificed [her] life to keep [her] parents’ promise,” but... (full context)
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Lindo expands on her previously sacrifice, describing her arranged marriage in China when she was two... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
After the initial arrangement, Lindo’s mother refers to Lindo as Huang Taitai’s daughter instead of her own, and treats her... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
When Lindo is twelve, her family’s farm is destroyed by floods, and her parents decide that, rather... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Over the next four years, Lindo becomes such a good servant that Huang Taitai jokingly complains that she can’t make a... (full context)
Storytelling and Tradition Theme Icon
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
By Lindo’s sixteenth birthday, Huang Taitai is anxious for a grandson, and plans a lavish wedding for... (full context)
Storytelling and Tradition Theme Icon
On her wedding night, Lindo sees her red marriage candle on display. According to tradition, a candle is decorated with... (full context)
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
...night, but the servant gets scared by thunder and leaves her post. In that moment, Lindo rushes over without hesitation and blows Tyan-yu’s candle end out. The next morning however, Huang... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
After the wedding, Lindo falls into a comfortable, platonic relationship with Tyan-yu, caring for him like a sister and... (full context)
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
Huang Taitai, with her old-fashioned thinking, straps Lindo to her bed to increase her chance at pregnancy, as well as strips her of... (full context)
Storytelling and Tradition Theme Icon
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
Not long after, in a frenzied performance, Lindo tells an elaborate story to Huang Taitai, saying that Tyan-yu’s ancestors came to her in... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1: Rules of the Game
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Waverly Jong narrates her experience as a child chess prodigy, saying that her mother Lindo was the one who taught her the art of “invisible strength.” As a child, Waverly... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...receives a used chess set with missing pieces as a holiday gift from their church. Lindo wants to throw the chessboard out because it’s clearly been worn down and discarded by... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Lindo notices Waverly’s talent and signs her up for neighborhood chess tournaments. At the first tournament,... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...own bedroom. Waverly enjoys the benefits, but grows increasingly irritated by her mother’s overbearing presence. Lindo takes Waverly on walks through Chinatown’s markets to show her off, inflating Lindo’s own ego. (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
On one trip, Waverly loses her temper and tells Lindo that the bragging is embarrassing. Lindo angrily asks if Waverly is embarrassed to be her... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...later, she returns home to her brothers telling her that she’s in deep trouble. However, Lindo doesn’t acknowledge her, saying the family has no concern for Waverly if Waverly has no... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4: Two Kinds
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...always end up deeply disappointed. At the same time, Waverly becomes a chess prodigy, and Lindo brags about her daughter’s victories. June can see Suyuan’s envy, even though Suyuan says Waverly... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2: Four Directions
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
Waverly takes Lindo out to lunch to tell her about her recent engagement to Rich Schields, but it... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
Whenever Waverly tries to bring Rich up, Lindo changes the subject, so Waverly decides to bring her to Rich and Waverly’s apartment, where... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Waverly angrily recalls her childhood again, after her fight with Lindo in “Rules of the Game.” Thinking she can spite Lindo by no longer being a... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...to erode self-confidence haunts Waverly into adult life, coloring Waverly’s opinion of her romantic partners. Lindo openly disliked and criticized Waverly’s first husband who was also Shoshana’s father; by the time... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Waverly finally gets Lindo to acknowledge Rich through a sneaky plan: she first takes him to Suyuan and Canning’s... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...as Rich breaks a number of Chinese etiquette rules, such as adding soy sauce to Lindo’s cooking and calling Waverly’s parents by their first names. Waverly is horrified by his behavior... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
Waverly stays up all night stewing, then drives straight to Lindo’s in the morning to yell at her. When she arrives, Lindo is asleep, looking “innocent…... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 3: Double Face
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...her trip to China, and airport officials won’t let her back into the United States; Lindo scoffs and says that Waverly doesn’t even need to open her mouth to reveal that... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
Before Waverly’s wedding, Waverly forces Lindo to get her hair cut at a fancy San Francisco salon. The stylist doesn’t even... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
When left alone, Lindo thinks about the similarities between she and Waverly, as mother and daughter; then, she thinks... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
When first traveling to America, Lindo pays an American-raised Chinese girl to teach her the rules of survival. She’s told to... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Back in the parlor, Lindo complains about Waverly’s crooked nose, inherited from Lindo, but Waverly likes it, saying it makes... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 4: A Pair of Tickets
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...about her half-sisters and their impending meeting. Suyuan died before replying to their letter, so Lindo was asked to reply with the bad news. All of the Joy Luck Club members... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
...sisters she doesn’t even know. The worry seeps into her sleep, causing nightmares. June begs Lindo to write another letter in Chinese that says Suyuan is dead. June confesses that her... (full context)