The Joy Luck Club contains many different interwoven stories about conflicts between Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-raised daughters. The novel's events take place within four general time frames: the childhood years of the mother narrators in China; the youthful adult years of the mothers around the time of their immigration to America; the childhood years of the daughter narrators in the United States; and the youthful adult years of the daughters as they interact with their aging mothers. The four time frames span the 1920s-1930s, the 1940s-1950s, the 1960s, and the 1980s. All of the mother characters' childhood memories take place in China; their youthful memories take place either in China prior to emigration or in San Francisco or Oakland after coming to America. Their American-born daughters remember events that have taken place only in San Francisco or Oakland, although June travels to China at the end of the novel to meet her long lost twin sisters. All of the Chinese born mothers had children in America, and wanted to make them as American as possible while still holding onto their Chinese heritage. The daughters all have American qualities to them, but are still quite traditional. In doing this, the movie shows the differences between the two cultures by comparing mothers and daughters, and the viewer comes to understand how diverse the two customs really are. Some points that the movie covers involving dissimilarities between Chinese and American cultures are arranged marriages, sexism, and the control that one has over their own life. .
A major difference in cultures between Americans and Chinese are arranged marriages. Arranged marriages in America are absolutely unheard of, and to have one in our society would be considered out of the ordinary. However in China it is the contrary. They have modernized their culture, but they still have many traditions that they hold on to, one of them being arranged marriages.