Amy Tan's Two Kinds Essay

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¶ … Amy Tan's "Two Kinds"

Amy Tan's short story "Two Kinds" permits the person who reads to comprehend two sorts of conflict: external and internal. Jing-Mei's mother has a strong belief that Jing-Mei can be really become anything she desires to be in America. However, Jing-Mei has a lack of confidence. Can Jing-Mei live up to the expectations of her mother? Does she really want to do that? There are disagreements that are going on within themselves that involve each other. In the short story "Two Kinds," Amy Tan utilizes the narrator's standpoint in order to share a mother's effort to control her daughter's ambitions and dreams. Tan's short story is gives the reader an example of how personalities that are so different can cause brawls that are between a child and their parent. Children can sometimes become victim to a parent that is really straining too hard or prospects being too high, and in the situation of "Two Kinds," it can be seen that Jing Mei's mother is really trying to live her life through that of Jing Mei (Girard). The result of Jing Mei's mother's acts begins to push her down a road full of resentment, bitterness, and fear all which are motivated and powered by hate but in the end love.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Amy Tan's Two Kinds Amy Tan's Short Assignment

From the start, love and trust for her mother is what motivates Jinq Mei to pursue the piano. After all, it was her mother's wishes and who was she to disobey her. From the beginning we discover Jing-Mei's mother trying her best to convince Jing Mei that she "can become a genius or prodigy…" (Tan 346) and that she "can become good at anything." (Tan 346). The method in which Jing-Mei's mother depicts becoming a prodigy is looked as a magnificent thing for their family; Jing Mei rapidly plunges into her ruse. In the beginning, Jing-Mei is, "really excited just like her mother, possibly even more than her." (Tan 347). At first, Jing-Mei unlike her mother is not even the least bit thrilled. Jing-Mei's ideas for her daughter to make it seem very unrealistic for Jinq-Mei at the beginning. Jinq-Mei lived in a fantasy and dreamed about being a movie star and Shirley Temple became her idol. Jing-Mei's mother was set on doing everything she could to prepare her daughter to be the best and if she had to use to test to do that, then testing is what she did. Now, of course it did not matter because Jinq-Mei did everything in her power to sabotage those test by making sure that she did not pass them. Now, as already mentioned, at the very beginning, Jing Mei does not have a problem with going along with her mother. In her mind maybe it won't be so bad. The tides switch and Jing Mei attitude towards the whole event becomes sour to her. Her once optimistic outlook becomes stale and dry. Jing-Mei starts doing a lot of thinking to herself, "I cannot be what I am not." (Tan 348).

At this point fear is becoming her motivator for Jing-Mei. The more fear comes the more it motivates her to hate the piano and eventually her mother. Jing-Mei's mother obviously observes that fact that Jing-Mei is no longer trying to make any energy into her mother's dream of developing into a prodigy. Jinq Mei character appeared to change overnight becoming dry to the test her mother threw at her. Mom is not having any more hope. It is clear she wants the best for her daughter but Jinq-Mei attitude at this stage is that she could care less. Jinq-Mei did not want to become compared to other Chinese girls. The piano was becoming a curse to her more than a blessing. There was no longer any energy because she felt as though it was torture rather than pleasure. Jinq-Mei resented everything about the piano and over time the resentment grew into hate. Even her mother try at exchanging housecleaning services for weekly lessons, did not make the slightest appeal to Jinq-Mei. A conflict that is external occurs on page 48 when Jing-Mei makes her plea, "I'm not an intellect! I don't know how to play it." A slap comes across Jinq-Mei face, "Who ask you be genius? Only think you should be the best." Those words strike a guilty cord in Jing-Mei, "So unappreciative "("Two Kinds," Page 48). Jing-Mei puts extra fuel to the fire by declining to collaborate, which makes the mother feel unrewarding.

At this moment, we see that control stimulates the mother and now hate is becoming Jinq-Mei motivation. It had become an issue of domination on the mother's side and disobedience and abhorrence on the Jing-Mei's part. The tone seemed to be full of revolt and displeasure. It appears that both of them have different views concerning life and different dreams and hopes which caused a lot of stress all through the story. Nevertheless, when the mother passes away at the end of story, Jinq-Mei character changes her tone to remorse, now understanding the mother's motives. Jinq-Mei character now switches to regret and now thinks about how she has taken her mother for granted in her life. A convincing significance like this makes the reader reflect on their own lives and relationships that they have with those they love. Amy builds the story in a way that creates the plot flow, and we are absorbed in what will occur to Jing-Mei next. Readers will probably even feel like Jing-Mei' may possibly be too hard on the protagonist which is her mother (Tan).

Other experts and authors who have evaluated this story have their own opinions. Why does the American Dream influence the Chinese culture a lot of them ask? The American dream has an influence that is so powerful on new comers in the U.S. The load of these dreams typically falls more deeply on the shoulders of American born children of immigrants such as Jing-Mei (Yu). Usually, parents of immigrants are eager to forgo everything they have which includes vocations, family, and stuff, to follow new lives in America just like Jing-Mei's mother. Of course different ethnicities see the U.S.A. differently (Girard).

The American dream has a different opinion from every culture since most are not raised exactly the same. Jing- Mei's American culture is not really mixing well with her mother's culture. The United States is a nation that gives unchallengeable privileges as certain by the Constitution, precisely the First Amendment (Yu). In the United States Constitution it mentions that people do have liberation of speech while in Chinese culture only those who are considered above a person have that certain liberty. In Chinese culture a girl such as Jinq-Mei will not have the liberty to talk back or speak their mind (Girard). There method of respect is that a girl such as Jinq-Mei would have to show gratitude to every older person around even if it is not their family.

First and leading, a chief challenge that Jing-Mei had to put up with was having a mother with a mentality that was backing home (Yu). A lot of girls like Jinq-Mei face this hardship while growing up. Some think that becoming an American means to be free, to stand up for yourself, and to contend for your liberty. In Chinese culture, relations with other people include mutual responsibilities. In American culture people evade symbiotic relations and circumstances that might involve long-term responsibilities.

It now reaches the point where deception becomes Jinq-Mei new motivation. With that said, in the story, after learning to play the piano, Jing-Mei because her mother's back home pressure are so great, she finds ways to wiggle out of practicing with deception. As she has taken lessons from a blind man named Mr. Chong, Jing-Mei soon discovered out that this man because he had a disability, reminded her lot about Beethoven. Jing-Mei comes up with a deceptive plan. Deception was up her sleeve. Without much thought, she stooped to a sham by tricking the blind man by acting as though she really enjoyed playing the piano thus getting away with murder. Jinq-Mei at this point was motivated by feat of failing at something that she felt she was not good at. The motivation of fear became her friend and she used it greatly to encourage her. If she tapped the incorrect key, Jing-Mei wouldn't even try to make the effort to correct her. The stress of her culture in America has gotten to her. In her ploy, failure would be an option making sure the wrong key was tapped became her mission.

Motivation from deception quickly switches to fear as Jinq-Mei's latest cheerleader. The back home pressure even puts pressure on her at the show. When the talent show was going on, Jing-Mei's working habits show, and begins to start seeing what her mother really desires. She was assumed to play "Pleading Child." By the time the show came, fear as a motivator creeped in which… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Amy Tan's Two Kinds" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Amy Tan's Two Kinds.  (2012, February 7).  Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Amy Tan's Two Kinds."  7 February 2012.  Web.  12 April 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Amy Tan's Two Kinds."  February 7, 2012.  Accessed April 12, 2021.