Comparison between “The Joy Luck Club” and “Gran Torino”

In this text I will talk about the movie “Gran Torino” and the short story “when Rich came to Sunday dinner”. I will focus on how they

The short story «when Rich came to Sunday dinner» explains the situation when you are having your fiancé over for dinner for the first time without your parents knowing you are getting married. Her almost husband, Rich is an American boy while Waverly is Chinese. Waverly Jong is really nervous because of her mother and fathers strong belief in the Chinese culture and she thinks they won’t approve their love or wedding. But the story turns around when Waverly talks to her mom about him and she approves Rich of being her husband.

Also in the movie Grand Torino, directed by Clint Eastwood, the characters have to deal with differences between cultures. The ex-serviceman Walt Kowalski lives next door to a Hmong family who obviously has a very different culture from him. It starts with him having lots of prejudice towards the family but his values change during the movie and towards the end he is learns to respect other cultures.

The director of Gran Torino and the author of “when Rich came to Sunday dinner” have used different methods to teach the audience about the cultures. In gran Torino the main character, Walt spends a lot of time on his veranda where he observes what his neighbours are doing. At one point in the movie he is invited over for a barbeque. The young girl, Sue tells him a lot about how to act around her people, what to do and what not to do. Walt was for example very surprised when he was not allowed to touch Hmong people on their heads or look them in the eye. In “when Rich came to Sunday dinner” we learn about Chinese culture when Waverly’s mother tells old tales from the Chinese history to her at the end of the story. The audience get to learn about important people like Sun Wei who went to battle with Genghis Kahn and his warriors. They could not get killed because the arrows being shot at them only bounced back.

In both stories there is a girl who tries to unite the cultures. In Gran Torino it is Sue and in the short story it is Waverly. They are both open minded towards other people and want to prevent conflicts between the ethnic groups. I do, however think the prejudice in Gran Torino is more developed than in the novel. Walt Kowalski’s hatred towards the Hmong is sitting in his bones at the beginning of the movie and it takes a lot of time before he releases his anger. In the short story the prejudice was more imagined by Waverly. She thought her parents had a lot of anger towards Americans, but they did not. Her mother even knew about their engagement without her daughter had told her and she did not say anything against it. It seemed like her only wish was for her daughter to remember her heritage even though she didn’t marry a Chinese man.

As a conclusion I would say that both texts have preconceived opinion towards other cultures but this change and they learn to appreciate each other which it the most important thing.


One thought on “Comparison between “The Joy Luck Club” and “Gran Torino”

  1. I agree with you, their attitudes change as the story progress. There is a growth here and an understanding for different cultures. It takes patience and the willing to learn. I like how you compare these two stories using the women as an example of making peace and bringing understanding between the cultures!

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