Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds” is an autobiographical look into her childhood that shows the conflict between Tan and her mother, the difference between old and new cultures, the past and the present, and parents’ expectations vs. reality. Couples of opposing elements comprise the basis of the entire story; to another extent even the title itself, “Two Kinds,” shows the friction that Tan creates. The strongest argument that Tan suggest is that this may not only be a look into her own life, rather it may be the struggles that every child and parent goes through as they come into age. As the story advances, Tan’s journey of struggle through the relationship with her overbearing mother is unraveled. A sense of emotional growth and mutual respect can …show more content…
Such a sad, ugly girl! I made high - pitched noises like a crazed animal, trying to scratch out the face in the mirror.” Tan expresses these emotions, as she is upset with not being as good as her mother is expecting. Her mother makes her feel as if she is not as good as she should be, though this strong attack maybe as simple as a failed attempt of Tan’s mother trying to make her realize that she is not fulfilling her own potential.
The most important parts of the story come in regards to the piano lessons that Tan is “forced” into taking. During the course of the piano lessons Tan and her mother unleash their vented emotions in a strong exchange
"Why don't you like me the way I am?" I cried. "I'm not a genius! I can't play the piano. Mother slapped me.
"Who ask you to be genius?" she shouted. "Only ask you be your best. For you sake. You think I want you to be genius? Hnnh! What for! Who ask you! So ungrateful,"
This strong exchange is large basis for argument of the misinterpreted attempts of each character. Tan herself is only trying to be do her best as her mother wants, even though her mother thinks that she is not trying as much as she really can.
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This just proves how her mentality of her mother's English was skewed due to the belief that her mother's English was bad English. Tan's mother's English may be viewed as imperfect by others, bits she still has the ability to make a strong emphasis when need be to avoid getting cheated due to her linguistic disabilities. “It’s my mother tongue. Her language, as I hear it, is vivid, direct, full of observation and imagery. That was the language that helped shape the way I saw things, expressed things, made sense of the world"(Tan, paragraph 6).
Tan shows that she is embarrassed in her family for their lacking of proper American manners. Although at the time she felt ashamed, the words spoken by her mother, “Inside you must always be Chinese. You must be proud you are different. Your only shame is to have shame” became better understood later in life. In Amy Tan's work, the strong use of description of both the event that are occurring and Amy’s feelings about them, draws the reader in and makes them feel as if they are part of the action. Tan's Chinese-American culture and life stories are imprinted in her writing which gives the reader an opportunity to gain knowledge about the way of life in her family, friends, and even the Chinese culture. Tan's main purpose of writing is to inform and educate people about growing up as a minority in the American society.
Tan develops her relationship with the audience by allowing us inside of her head and her private conversation that she had with her mom after Robert left. This helps to appeal to the emotions of the audience
On the other hand the main focus on Tan’s story is to show the beautiful and passionate side of her mother that people can't see. Tan describes how all of the English’s that she grew up with, normal English and "mother tongue" English, has shaped her first outlook of life. She writes, "But to me, my mother's
Mom tries to point out to her daughter that she knows that she’s not making any effort to be her best. She tried to use reverse psychology on her child but it didn’t work. The only thing that it did was make Ni’Kan more determined not to succeed in becoming a child prodigy.
She wants the audience to know right away that even though she is about to tell you the story of a difficult childhood, she did reach her goal in the end. After making this statement, Tan dives into her past and how she came to be where she is today. Her mother is the next most important point of discussion. Her mother influenced her writing style as well as her beliefs about her culture and heritage. ?Just last week, I was walking down the street with my mother, and I again found myself conscious of the English I was using, the English I do use with her? (Tan, 2002, p. 36). The broken up English her mother uses is the next issue Tan focuses on. ??everything is limited, including people?s perceptions of the limited English speaker? (Tan, 2002, p. 36). Lastly, she talks about her education and the role it had on her deciding what she wanted to do with her life. ?Fortunately, I happen to be rebellious in nature and enjoy the challenge of disproving assumptions made about me? (Tan, 2002, p. 39). By structuring the essay in order of importance, Tan reinforces her message that you can be anything you desire even with a different culture than the norm.
The daughter did not like the idea of playing the piano. “Why don’t you like me the way I am? . . . I am not a genius! I can’t play the piano. And even if I could, I wouldn’t go on TV if you paid me a million dollars!” (492-493). Here, Tan is conveying the fact that parents and children have disagreements on what the child should do, and who the child is to become. For example, parents may have an idea where they want their child to attend their college education. The child, on the other hand, may want to go to a different college as suggested. Ultimately, it is the decision of the child. We cannot live how others want us to live. It is the path of our own making that truly makes us happy.
In her short story "Two Kinds," Amy Tan utilizes the daughter's point of view to share a mother's attempts to control her daughter's hopes and dreams, providing a further understanding of how their relationship sours. The daughter has grown into a young woman and is telling the story of her coming of age in a family that had emigrated from China. In particular, she tells that her mother's attempted parental guidance was dominated by foolish hopes and dreams. This double perspective allows both the naivety of a young girl trying to identify herself and the hindsight and judgment of a mature woman.
Tan had wrote the piece in a highly critical or upset tone. Tan never expressed aggression towards her mother's troubles and moved on. During her mothers problems troubles at the doctors she mentions “She did not seem to have any sympathy when she told them she was anxious to know the exact diagnosis, since her husband and son have both died of brain tumors” (Tan 1014). Tan brought up how the doctor had little care for her mother not in an aggressive manner but one of a disheartened or upsetting mood. Another example of Tan showing a disheartened tone was when describing how her mothers broken english was limiting her potential in the literacy field. “Asian-American students whose english in the home might also be described as ‘Broken’ or ‘Limited.’ And perhaps they also have teachers who are steering them away from writing and into math and science, which is what happened to me” (Tan 1015). Tan describes 2 separate problems caused by mother’s broken english to americans that were serious issues and only resolved when Tan would speak her english for her mother. She described in a more disheartened tone to match that of the reader. Reading about her troubles would touch the readers heart in a soft or upset mannar rather than being angry and likely drawing readers to not believer her
The outcome of trying to express herself in her true nature often got her punished severely. Tan feels less fortunate to have been in an immigrant family because many of her opportunities were taken away because of that. While growing up, Tan believed that because her "mother 's English …had an
As an adult, Tan understands that her mother’s English is the language of intimacy. She now understands that her “mother’s expressive command belies how much she actually understands” Her mother reads “The Wall street Journal” and converses with their stockbroker on matters Tan doesn’t comprehend. It becomes evident that her initial
For Christmas Eve, Tan’s mother had invited over a boy that at the time Tan had feelings for. Throughout the duration of the dinner, Tan is appalled at her family and the boys reactions to it. She feels uncomfortable because of her culture and the boy who she likes reacting to it, as she states, “I wanted to disappear.” It was only a while after the uncomfortable dinner that Tan realizes the importance of her culture and develops an appreciation for it. It was through that uncomfortable experience that she learned to accept herself and her
To avoid stress from everything that has been going on, she decided to study jazz piano because during her childhood, her parents expected her to become musical prodigy. After going through the ups and downs of business and music years, she became a freelance writer and started to write fiction. Tan enjoyed writing fiction so much; it seemed like it wasn’t just a job anymore, it was like a hobby in which you get paid. Just as when she was starting her new career, her mother became ill and Tan promised her that she will take her to China as soon as she feels better. By the time her mother recovered from sickness, Tan took her to China, and the both drew closer to
The story “Two Kinds,” written by Amy Tan, has a plot that many people can relate to while growing up as a child. The theme of the story is that there are two kinds of people: the one the mother wants her to be and the one Jing-mei (the protagonist and narrator of the story) strives to be. Both mother and daughter in the story have a very complicated relationship. The mother believes that you could become anything you wanted in America. The author emphasizes that Jing-mei’s mother tries to dominate and control her life in every possible way you can imagine. For example her mother’s persistent ways in trying to make her into something she’s not a “prodigy”, as well as making her take piano lessons so she can win against one of her mother’s