Amy Tan : “Two Kinds” Essay

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The novel ‘the luck club” was written by Amy Tan, an American -born Chinese writer, in 1989. Amy Tan first large literary work was a great success: the novel became a bestseller, and the same year Amy Tan won The National Book Award and the L.A. Times Book Award (Jokinen, 1996), and translated into 17 languages (Academy of Achievement, 2010). ?Amy Tan’s ?Two Kinds’ is a short story about the relationship between a Chinese-American mother and her American daughter. In Tan’s book, called ?’The Joy Luck Club”, Two Kinds is a chapter, which is made up of sixteen stories about Tan growing up in America with a mother ancient Chinese customs (Tan, 189). In this fictional story, the effectiveness of this story appeals directly to readers because Tan describes her childhood not with an emphasis on cultural differences, but a girl trying to find herself all the while in constant conflict with her Chinese-American mother’s desire for her to become extraordinary. This scenario will be examined through the expository, conflictual, and climax views.

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First, the exposition; In the ?’Two Kinds”, the exposition is clear in the first couple of pages. The stories begin by explaining that Amy’s (Jing-Mei) family moved to America when she was a baby, in 1949. Her mother is clear in her goals: she wants Amy to be child prodigy (a person with exceptional talent) and famous. The protagonist of the story is a girl named Jing-Mei. Her mother becomes the antagonist because of her insistence that Jing-Mei finds a hidden talent. Her mother’s goals for Jing-Mei is to be at the top and stand out in high esteem. At first, Jing-Mei was happy about this notion as well. Dispute gradually arises when Jing-Mei got tired of her mother’s insistence on testing her every night on various subjects.

From the conflictual view makes it the second reasons this story is compelling for readers. The story’s main character, Jing-Mei Woo, could be considered as a conflicted character. The tension of this conflict is found towards her mother with regards to how they view the way her life should be. The reason that causes this tension is the manner as to how Jing-Mei was raised in a different environment from that of her mother. Unlike her mother, Jing-Mei grew up in an environment that was more culturally American. The cultural climate in the United States is very liberal and highly individualistic. Jing-Mei reluctance to her mother’s prodding and wishes is not that baseless defiance or rebellion, but because Jing-Mei does not feel obliged to it and does not see himself anything like her mom’s idea of her being a musical prodigy. While Jing-Mei did accept the idea at first, she eventually felt that her mother was pushing her a little too hard. She would learn to play the piano, but she learns only with mediocre efforts and attitude later on. This lead to her mother’s disappointment and further deepens the conflict. These Leads Jing-Mei to help understand her mom’s reasons after she passes away.

Although the expositional and the conflictual parts give readers a good insight into the effectiveness of this story, another appealing part of this fictional story is the climax. For example, the music teacher and her mother decide to enter Jing-Mei in a talent show. Her mother is so proud of Jing-Mei musical talent; she even invites Auntie Lindo and Waverly to Amy’s first piano recital. She has played it but has never really memorized or even listened to herself as she played it. Despite her lack of practice, Jing-Mei is overconfident. Since she did not know the music, her performance was a disaster. She makes a fool of herself and embarrasses her mother. Her stubborn mother does not give up and expects her to continue practicing the next day, but Jing-Mei refuses to proceed with the piano practice or lessons. She tells her mother that she wishes that she were dead, Jing-Mei knew what to say to hurt her mother. Jing-Mei’s mother had other babies that died. After this confrontation, her mother finally gives up on her having a special talent or being a prodigy.

Finally, when her mother dies, Jing-Mei has the piano tuned. Helping her father sorting out her mother’s things in her parents apartment. She finds herself very sentimental about her mother and the things that she valued. Finally, Jing-Mei sits down at the piano and looks at the piece that she was supposed to play at the talent show. She noticed that the piece on the right side of the page was called “Perfectly Contented.” On the other side was the piece that she attempted: “Pleading Child.” She realizes that the two pieces are two parts of the same section. The song symbolically represents Jing-Mei’s life. If only her mother is still alive and around, she would tell her things that she had learned

All in all, the constant conflict between the daughter and mother due to the desire of Jing-Mei mother, for Jing-Mei to be a prodigy appeals directly to readers. Hence, the exposition clearly describes how Jing-Mei family migrated to the United States when she was a baby. The pressure from Jing-Mei mother led to conflicts between mother and daughter, which made Jing-Mei to choice from being who she was to be who her mother wanted her to be. The music teacher and Jing-Mei mother enrolled her into a talent show not knowing that Jing-Mei lack of practice will result in her bad performance.

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Amy Tan : "Two Kinds" Essay. (2021, Mar 04). Retrieved August 11, 2022 , from

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