The Joy Luck Club

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 assumes credit for Waverly’s successes. Waverly treats her mother as the ultimate opponent, rather than a guiding figure, which antagonizes their relationship up into Waverly’s adulthood. While seeking Lindo’s approval before her second marriage, it is revealed that Waverly believes that Lindo poisoned her confidence as a child, so that Waverly is unable to trust her own instincts over love, parenting, and life in general. She has a young daughter, Shoshana, from a previous marriage.

Waverly Jong Quotes in The Joy Luck Club

The The Joy Luck Club quotes below are all either spoken by Waverly Jong or refer to Waverly 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Waverly Jong Character Timeline in The Joy Luck Club

The timeline below shows where the character Waverly Jong appears in The Joy Luck Club. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Red Candle
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
...saying she “sacrificed [her] life to keep [her] parents’ promise,” but that to her daughter Waverly, “promises mean nothing.” She then thinks about her granddaughter Shoshana, to whom she occasionally gives... (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... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
One Christmas, Waverly’s older brother receives a used chess set with missing pieces as a holiday gift from... (full context)
Storytelling and Tradition Theme Icon
Waverly goes to the library to research chess strategies and game theory in her free time,... (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, Lindo gives... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
After becoming a national champion, Waverly takes advantage of her mother’s vanity in her by getting out of chores and getting... (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... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Waverly runs off, ignoring her mother calling her back, and hides in an alley. Hours later,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4: Two Kinds
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...June is amazing at, but they 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... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
...June is stunned by her failure, but Suyuan is completely humiliated after bragging so much. Waverly tells June that not everyone can be a prodigy, and the gravity of June’s self-imposed... (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,... (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... (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.”... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Waverly goes back to playing competitively a few weeks later, but has lost her confidence and... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Waverly finally gets Lindo to acknowledge Rich through a sneaky plan: she first takes him to... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...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 and has second thoughts... (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... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4: Best Quality
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
At Suyuan’s dinner party, Waverly ruins Suyuan’s head count by bringing her daughter Shoshana and giving her the biggest, best... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Midway through dinner, conversation strikes back up again. Waverly compliments June’s new haircut, but then acts horrified when she learns that June goes to... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Storytelling and Tradition Theme Icon
Angry at Waverly’s pettiness, June retorts that she’d have more money if Waverly’s advertising firm paid her for... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 3: Double Face
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
Waverly worries that she will blend in too much on her trip to China, and airport... (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.... (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 about her own mother and her. Before they... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Immigration, Language, and Mistranslation Theme Icon
...language barrier, they learn to laugh together, and eventually marry and start a family. When Waverly is born, after two boys, Lindo is overwhelmed by how much they look alike, and... (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 them look “devious…... (full context)