- In this chapter we are introduced to the character Jing-mei Woo. She explains how her mother past away a few months ago and she now has to take her place in an organization her mother founded called The Joy Luck Club. She then goes on to explain her mothers past: she was married in China before she met Jing-mei's father and had two children, twins, with this man. When a war started she had to immigrate to America, leaving her daughers behind. At the end of the chapter, the ladies from the Joy Luck Club give Jing-mei money to travel to China and find her half-sisters and tell them of their mother's life.
Part One: Chapters 2-4
- In chapter 2, An-mei Hsu tells a childhood memory of her and her mother; when her grandmother got sick, her mother (who had been chased away) came back into her life. She explains how when her mother left she spilled hot soup on her skin, leaving a scar, and before her grandmother died, she sacrificed her skin in hot soup to try to save her. In chapter 3,Lindo Jong remembers being two-years-old and a matchmaker coming to her house to arrange a future marriage between Lindo and Huang Taitai’s one-year old son. After the contract is signed, Lindo’s parents stop treating her as their daughter, but as Huang Taitai’s daughter. When Lindo is twelve, her entire family moves away, leaving Lindo behind to join the Huang household. At age sixteen, Lindo was married. She is very unhappy and eventually the marriage between Tyan-yu and Lindo was ended, and Lindo emigrated to America. Chapter four:Ying-ying tells the story of the Moon Festival she went to when she was four. Ying-ying accidently got fish guts on her clothing, and when her mother saw her, she took off her clothes off and Ying-ying fell off the boat the party was on, into the water. A fisherman found her and brought her to shore, leaving her alone. Ying-ying wished to be found.
Part Two: Chapters 4-5
- We are introduced to Waverly Jong, Lindo's daughter.Waverly explains how she learnt to play chess and began to attract attention because of her young age, and she became a celebrity within San Francisco’s Chinatown community. Lindo loved to show off her daughter, one day, Waverly got so tired of it that she yelled at her mother in public. Lindo said that because Waverly had no concern for her family, the family would have no concern for her. Chapter five: Growing up in an apartment in San Francisco, Lena often heard the fighting of her neighbors, an Italian woman and her daughter. She assumed that the women hated each other, until she met the daughter and learned that the relationship was strong. Lena was jelous of the openness of the relationship, wishing she could talk to her mother with the same openness. Unfortunately, she can't, becuase her own mother just lost her baby, and will not talk.
Part Two: Chapters 6-7
- Rose Hsu Jordan remembers a time in her childhood when her parents left her in charge of her brother, Bing. Unfortunately, while under her watch, Bing is carried away in the sea and drowns.Bing’s death causes Rose’s mother to lose her faith in God, and Rose has always felt guilty. Now Rose's husband has announced he is leaving her for another woman. Rose loses her faith in love. In chapter seven, Jing-Mei Woo remembers the time when her mother had tried to make her compete with Waverly's success. She was forced to become a pianist and rebelled by playing badly and hurting her mother’s feelings. She didn't start to play again till after her mother's death, and discoved that she was good at it.
Part Three: Chapters 8-9
- Lena has married Harold, an architect, and they have moved into a new home. Ying-Ying is not impressed with the house and sees flaws in everything, including Lena's marriage. Lena admits to herself that her marriage isn't perfect. Her husband barely knows her and although he is successful and wealthy, he doesn't share with Lena. Taking her mother’s advice, Lena tells Harold she is not happy, and due to his reaction, she breaks down crying. In chapter nine, Waverly struggles with telling her mother, Lindo, that she is engaged to a man named Rich. She brings Rich to her mother's home and things go bad, but once she tells her that they are engaged, she takes the news well.
Part Three: Chapters 10-11
- Rose Hsu Jordan's husband, Ted, has found another woman and wants a divorce. Unable to come to terms with it, she takes many sleeping pills. She comes to her senses before it is too late, and when Ted comes to get the signed divorce papers and the agreement signing over the house to him, Rose stands up for herself, as her mother has advised and refuses to give the house to him. In chapter eleven, Jing-Mei reflects on the time her mother gave her a jade pendant on the Chinese New Year.
Part Four: Chapters 12-13
- Rose tells her mother, An- Mei, how unhappy she is in her marriage. Since her mother knows the pain of unhappiness, she encourages Rose do whatever it takes to be happy again. An-Mei has tried to raise Rose to be independent. When she learns that her daughter is being divorced by her husband, Ted, she encourages Rose to stand up to him. In chapter thirteen, Ying-ying, concerned about her daughter’s marriage, she thinks about her own past.She remembers that she could not, at first, love her second husband because she had shut herself off from her emotions. Now she wants to help her daughter free her own emotions in an effort to find happiness.
Part Four: Chapter 14
- Waverly is trying to plan her honeymoon. She would like to travel to China; however, she tells her mother that she is afraid that she will be mistaken for a Chinese citizen and retained there. Her mother knows that she will not be mistaken because she acts very American, then she recalls when she travelled back to China once for a visit, and when she immigrated to America.
Part Four: Chapter 15
**SPOILER ALERT!! At the end of the novel,Jing-Mei and her father travel to China. They are reunited with their extended Chinese family and Jing-Mei gets to know her twin half-sisters, whom her mother had been forced to abandon many years ago. For the first time in her life, she feels a connection with her Chinese heritage. As the book ends, Jing-Mei is filled with Suyuan’s spirit and a sense of peace.