Cultural Values Of Cultures In Amy Tan's Two Kinds

1145 Words5 Pages
Culture embodies the collection of values, beliefs, and traditions that shape an individual’s relationship to the world. Cultural attributes are similar to an iceberg in the sense that some aspects of cultural identify are overtly visible to the world, while others are hidden and manifest themselves because of unexpected experiences in life. The seemingly unrelated and latent values, beliefs, and traditions that combine to constitute a person’s cultural identity are often irregular and discordant, but are still extremely powerful. A person’s culture and cultural conflicts affect the way that he or she perceive others, the world, and himself. The cultural identity of an individual influences his or her perception of other people. Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds” clearly depicts how an individual’s view of others’ cultures affects his or her subjective perception of them. The short story discusses the immigration of the family of a young Chinese girl to the United States in search of a better life. Upon arriving, the family is immersed in the plurality of cultures in the U.S. The mother of Jing Mei, the narrator, is extremely ambitious and desires for her child to be a prodigy. Her mother’s outlook on life is shaped by her upbringing in China, where the cultural norm is for parents to have much more dominant roles in forging their children’s career paths, and where the single-minded pursuit of “success” as defined by society is widely accepted. Consequently, she imposes excessively unrealistic expectations on her daughter, forcing her to partake in a plethora of activities such as acting, learning math, and playing the piano. Jing Mei is, however, affected by her upbringing in the U.S., where individuality and personal freedom are highly valu... ... middle of paper ... ...and adopted cultures varies widely across individuals. Every individual has his or her own unique cultural identity that is an amorphous combination of the beliefs, values and traditions of her native culture as well as the culture in which he or she grows up. In summary, an individual’s cultural identity is like a complex tapestry with seemingly disparate threads interwoven to create a unique design. As globalization increases, there is increasing contact between people from widely different cultural backgrounds. Individuals’ perceptions of others, and how people they interact with view them, are greatly affected by the conflict between disparate cultures. It is imperative for modern societies to harmoniously absorb people with distinct cultural identities so that they constructively interact with each other to create a unique and distinctive multi-cultural society.
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