The Joy Luck Club: Lesson Three

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12728

"It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game." A player's character is often displayed when participating in a game or sporting event. You'll determine who the best mah jong player is!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The game of mah jong is one of the "glues" that bonds the Joy Luck Club members together. How do you play it?

The game of mah jong is a constant throughout the lives of the Joy Luck Club members.

This game requires strategy and finesse. Although there are many modern versions of the game, the Chinese version is the original version, and is one that is considered both the most skillful and elegant. To learn the characteristics needed to be successful at mah jong, you will learn the rules of the Chinese game and play several rounds of the classic Chinese version online.

First, read the rules of the Chinese version of mah jong at The Rules of Mah Jong (Chinese & British Versions), from Masters Traditional Games. You can print out the rules and use them to help you play the game.

When you've finished studying the rules, take the short true-or-false quiz below to test your knowledge of the rules. If you score below 80%, re-read the rules and take the quiz again. Take the quiz as many times as you need until you pass with at least 80%.

Now that you are familiar with the rules of mah jong, it's time to play the game! There are many versions of the game on the Internet. Although mah jong is traditionally a game where betting is involved, the version you will play requires no betting. You will need the Shockwave Flash plugin to play the game. Play Mahjong Hong Kong at (Requires Adobe Flash.) Try playing the game at least twice.

  • How did you do?
  • Did you feel more comfortable playing the game a second time?
  • What characteristics do you think a successful mah jong player needs to have?

Reflect on these questions.

Once you've tried your hand at mah jong, read the next section of the book. Use the copy of The Joy Luck Club that you obtained for the first lesson in the series. For this lesson, you will read the three stories or chapters titled, "Half and Half: Rose Hsu Jordan," "Two Kinds: Jing-Mei Woo," and "Rice Husband: Lena St. Clair." As you read, take notes on the characteristics of the three girls.

  • What are their personalities like?
  • What events shape their lives as children?

Take the notes in your notebook or journal that you've been keeping for the novel.

When you have finished reading and taking notes, move on to the Got It? section to check your knowledge of the readings.

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