Virginia Woolf, one of the pioneers of modern feminism, found it appalling that throughout most of history, women did not have a voice. She observed that the patriarchal culture of the world at large made it impossible for a woman to create works of genius. Until recently, women were pigeonholed into roles they did not necessarily enjoy and had no way of exploring another side of themselves. In Two Kinds, Jing-mei yearns for a sense of identity that is her own. She doesn 't quite know what that is, however she knows it 's not the piano prodigy her mother wants her to be. Woolf argued that one of the key reasons a woman had not written a work of genius was because women did not have the opportunity to work on what they felt like for uninterrupted periods of time. In 1950s America, where the story is set, most women were just housewives, and women were not yet considered on equal footing with men. During this time in the mother’s home country of China, women were believed to be of a lower standing in the universe and unable to go to Heaven. Jing-mei’s rejection of her mother-imposed identity as a budding piano prodigy draws parallels to the early feminists’ rejection that women were less than equal to men, that the only role for a woman was to be a housewife, and that women were to be treated like animals or children. Jing-mei, like nearly every...
... middle of paper ...
...w great her daughter and remarks about how she is obsessed with chess with mock disgust. Waverley herself is no saint, as she brags about her level of genius while belittling Jing-mei after her piano recital fiasco. This is strikingly similar to how men looked down upon women as subhuman for most of history. All in all, Two Kinds is quite reflective of how women were treated and perceived in its 1950s American setting.
On the surface, Two Kinds appears to simply be a story about a failed piano prodigy. Looking deeper though, the reader discovers a powerful allegory of feminism. The centuries-long struggle for a woman to be her own person, the evolution of feminism over the years, and the treatment of women as objects or worse, are all cloaked under the story’s seemingly simple surface. Two Kinds is one of the rare gems of literature: a story so short, yet so powerful.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Emotional Grotesque in Two Kinds Have you ever felt so trapped by something you do not want to follow. Many people are indisputably obliged to be something they do not want to be. The emotional grotesque which is somebody that hears and keeps in her/his heart one “truth”, and obsesses on it, plays an important role in the lives of these people. The idea of following only one thing, can change a person into a bad or good combination of feelings that later in life will determine her/his future depending on how the person takes the idea.... [tags: Need, Knowledge, Want, Amy Tan]
1033 words (3 pages)
- The Literary theme that has captivated my interest and has moved me to research and understand the content which it describes or analyze , would be The Ambition of Self improvement. This theme can be related with psychoanalytic criticism. The story that has inspired me to study this theme comes from a short fiction story written by Amy Tan, named “Two Kinds”. This story has primary conflict between mother and daughter, with self improvement being the main theme identified in the text. Conflict that emerges between parents and children are still common factors current in society today.... [tags: Fiction, Protagonist, Narrative, Amy Tan]
787 words (2.2 pages)
- Ethical Lastly, there is the Ethical criticism approach to literature and in this approach it defines a literary work by what moral and ethical judgements it possess and promotes. In the Ethical approach critics “may range from a casual appraisal of a work’s moral content to the ore rigorous and systematic analysis driven by a coherent set of stated beliefs and assumptions”. In Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds” I felt that Tan, intends to make the reader think of the meaning behind the story. She doesn’t speak out to illustrate what is the real problem between her and her mother but instead she uses her own point of view as a narrator to state what she has experienced and what she feels in her mind a... [tags: Morality, Ethics, Human, Mind]
1050 words (3 pages)
- In Amy Tan 's Two Kinds, Jing-mei and her mother show how through generations a relationship of understanding can be lost when traditions, dreams, and pride do not take into account individuality. By applying the concepts of Virginia Woolf, Elaine Showalter, and the three stages of feminism, one can analyze the discourse Tan uses in the story and its connection to basic feminist principles. Virginia Woolf, one of the pioneers of modern feminism, found it appalling that throughout most of history, women did not have a voice.... [tags: Feminism, Feminist theory, Patriarchy, Woman]
1161 words (3.3 pages)
- Passport Please Arriving to the United States of America in a plane is an exhilarating experience. On the plane, everyone suffers the same fates: whether it be turbulence, bad food, or long delays. Once arriving at Customs, the real differences pop out when the passengers are separated into two groups: U.S. Citizens and Non-Citizens. Most immigrants dream of the day when they can step into the Citizen line, hand over their American passport and hear the customs officer say, “Welcome home.” To immigrants, being American equates to success, fame, and happiness.... [tags: United States, Immigration to the United States]
702 words (2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Short Story Analysis, Comparisons]
1184 words (3.4 pages)
- Why are children, pianos, and bad mothers a recipe for disaster. Maggie Scarfs essay” The Beavers scale of Family health and Competence” may be able to answer this question that haunts many families. Maggie Scarf compared and contrasted many families and was able to come up with the Family scale that puts these families on 5 different levels. Level 5 being the worst while level 1 being the most docile and best family unit. Using Scarfs essay we will be able to help the reader understand the level 4 family type to explain Amy Tans essay called” Two Kinds” were Jing-Mei battles her mother for self-control and her own social freedom.... [tags: books analysis and comparison]
841 words (2.4 pages)
- Two Kinds is a story about mother-daughter relationship Suyuan and Jing-mei. Suyuan believed that America is where her dreams will be fulfilled. She thought that her daughter, Jing-mei, would be the one to realize them. Jing-mei, on the other hand, was a confused child at first. She was led to believe that she can be someone. At first, she followed her mother, but when she felt that her mother was already forcing her and stealing her youth, she told herself that it was the end. The story is a clash between two individuals from two different generations and beliefs (Suyuan who basically grew up in China; and Jing-mei who was born and raised in United States).... [tags: mother, daughter, family, relationships]
1835 words (5.2 pages)
- "Two Kinds" is truly an amazing work; it captivates readers with by telling a story of a young girl trying to find herself. Amy Tan does a phenomenal job, not only by portraying a very real mother-daughter relationship, but at showing how much a young girl can change. Jing-Mei evolves throughout the story in a way that many people can relate to; crushed hopes, obeying your parents even if it means doing something you don't want to do, and finally standing up for what you believe in. Since "You could be anything you wanted to be in America" (Tan 348) Jing-Meis' mother thought that meant that you had to be a prodigy.... [tags: Two Kinds, Amy Tan]
1057 words (3 pages)
- In “Two Kinds,” Amy Tan explores a theme of independence. Jing-me is an impressionable nine year old girl living in an apartment with her parents. She struggles with the high expectations of her mother, to become a prodigy. The conflict results in a rebellious independence. Tan develops Jing-me’s character as willful, defiant, and insecure. To begin, Tan demonstrates that Jing-me’s willfulness stands in the way of her success. For example, after failing many of her mothers prodigy tests, she begins to hate them.... [tags: Two Kinds, Amy Tan]
660 words (1.9 pages)