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Amy Tan's Two Kinds and Julius Lester's Spear Essay

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Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds” and Julius Lester’s “Spear” are two short stories that manifest themes of pressure amongst the main character and internal conflicts concerning their identity. Most people feel pressure some point in their life, especially if a lot is required of them. Some stand strong and don’t let the pressure weigh them down. On the other hand, there are those that cave in and let others define their identity for them. There are many social forces that exert influences on people. The main character in “Two Kinds”, Jing-Mei, fit’s the description of the strong group that rebels against those that try to rectify her identity, mainly her mother. The simple fact of being observed by others pressures people. Being in a group can cause people to feel constrained and act differently depending on the cues from the surrounding environment. Yet, things like compliance, conformity, and obedience influence people’s behaviors as well. Spear, the main character in Julius Lester’s short story, relates to the group that gives into pressure and lets outside forces illustrate his selfhood. He is seen as a person who tires to please others, rather than standing up for what he believes in. Through the story, his humility reconstructs into defiance, similar to Jing-Mei.
Both of the main characters in the story are dealing with internal conflicts of identity that has been bestowed upon them from other parties. They are impelled to comply with the normality and custom of their surroundings in addition to living up to certain expectations. Spear and Jing-Mei, the main character’s of these stories, are different in the sense of how they dealt with their conflicts and their individual reactions, but simultaneously they are predominately simila...


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...cter. He rebelled and defied the person everyone set him out to be, in order to find his true inner self, free from expectations and obligations, which was Adrian.
In both stories, the main characters had people pressuring them to be something they didn’t want to be. However, they came over their individual dilemmas. Jing-Mei learnt later on in life, after her mother’s passing, while Spear learnt early in life. They both rebelled, but had different attitudes towards approaching their problem. These stories have taught me that in life, everyone will always expect something of you. With some expectancies comes pressure and a fear of failure, but with a strong sense of your true identity, one is able to decide if those expectations are worth fulfilling or not. Only you can make what you want of yourself, so don’t let any one else make you.















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