“Two Kinds” by Amy Tan

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'Two Kinds" is an allegory story, toned in a melancholy characterisation to either sympathise with the mother or the daughter telling the story, the author set the background of the story from folklore to quintessential compelling story theme on motherhood, 'Chinese immigrant who came to America 'in 1949 after losing everything in China." Suyuan having survived the untimely death of 'her first husband, and two daughters “ twin baby girls" in China.

She 'knew there were so many ways for things to get better" (Tan, Two Kinds 1).According to Jing-Mei's narration in the story, she saw her mother as a domineering mother. Suyuan came to America with hopes and dreams of becoming a better person. Jing-Mei's narration moves a reader to empathize with her mother's past. Suyuan's rough past shoots offspring of overzealousness for her daughter who invariably turned into a rebellious child.

The author was inconsequential in her characterization of Suyuan as a perfectionist “ holding a Chinese tradition that a daughter must command excellence in her life. Tan symbolized the piano into metaphor of how Jing-Mei was able to confront her past and future, at the same time became an independent woman of a true self. The piano also symbolises an identity that the mother wants her to be a genius pianist and a good musician - a subtle extension of the theme that dominated the narration throughout the story. Tan is able to pair the story with the musical monologue and operas, A situational irony, 'After her mother's death, Jing-Mei had become a dynamic and principled individual in which the rhythm of the music she plays is in contrast to her names”'Pleading Child" and 'Perfectly Contented" (Tan, Two Kinds 10)”and in their melody”one short and slow, the other fast and long, Jing-Mei really shows her personality, independence and a replica of her mother. She realizes that, just like the songs in the piano book, her mother and she "were they were two halves of the same song" (Tan, Two Kinds 10).

Finally, the last element in 'Two Kinds" is very conflicting with all the situational irony and verbal irony. The verbal irony in the story was the cruel way the mother talks to her daughter and wanting her to be what she is not and a situational irony is the way Jing-Mei later tuned in life and playing the piano to find the contrast to her name 'Pleading Child" and Perfect Contented".
The author infused a mythical expression of old tradition of Chinese tradition; Thus, Tan through Suyuan in 'Two Kinds showed how dominating, disrespectful and rude nature had affected the family's life and resulted in Suyuan's strange relationship with her daughter and not seeing the best in Jing-Mei.

In a broad context Amy Tan narrated the story for the readers in a first person narration, a more subjective form that one can see a belligerent child who was a complete opposite of her mother and also a protagonist and antagonist relationship that resulted into resentment of the daughter against her mother, the extension of the theme could also be interpreted not to coarse or change our children in image formed in our mind.

Technical most of the elements of literary components were used motif form by Tan to demonstrate how the mother formed the opinion of prodigy after watching the TV and the believed that in America you can become a prodigy, Ironically the author narrated the story to the reader for them not to coerced the children nor changed but to have a better understanding and know what the children want and allow them to be want they want to be.

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"Two Kinds" by Amy Tan. (2021, Mar 04). Retrieved December 1, 2023 , from

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