In the short story, "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan, a Chinese mother and daughter are at odds with each other. The mother pushes her daughter to become a prodigy, while the daughter (like most children with immigrant parents) seeks to find herself in a world that demands her Americanization. This is the theme of the story, conflicting values. In a society that values individuality, the daughter sought to be an individual, while her mother demanded she do what was suggested. This is a conflict within itself. The daughter must deal with an internal and external conflict. Internally, she struggles to find herself. Externally, she struggles with the burden of failing to meet her mother’s expectations. Being a first-generation Asian American, I have faced the same issues that the daughter has been through in the story.
When she arrives, she feels somehow proud to be Chinese. But her main reason why she went back home is to reflect her mother past life on her present life. Through the setting and her relatives, Jing Mei learns the nature of Chinese American culture. The main setting takes place in China, effects of the main character’s point of view through changing her sense of culture and identity. The time period plays a large role on the story, there is disconnect between the mother and daughter who came from different culture. In “A Pair of Tickets”, we learn it’s a first person narrator, we also learn detail of what the narrator is thinking about, detail of her past and how life compared to China and the US are very different. The theme is associated with the motherland and also has to deal with her mother’s death and half sisters. Her imagination of her sister transforming into adult, she also expected them to dresses and talk different. She also saw herself transforming, the DNA of Chinese running through her blood. In her own mind, from a distance she thinks Shanghai, the city of China looks like a major American city. Amy Tan used positive imagery of consumerism to drive home her themes of culture and identity, discovering her ancestral
The movie, The Joy Luck Club, focuses around the lives of four Chinese mothers and their Chinese-American daughters. The story takes place a few months after Junes mother, Suyuan has died. The mothers and daughters hold very different principles, where the mothers are still very traditional to their Chinese upbringings the daughters are much more “American.” The movie can be viewed from the Feminist Literary Theory, since the 8 main characters are female. The women’s life stories are told through a series of flashback scenes that deal heavily with female gender roles and the expectations of women. While the mothers and their daughter grew up in vastly different worlds, some of their experiences and circumstances correlate solely due to that fact that they experienced them because they are females.
As the daughter mature, they begin to feel that their identities are incomplete and become interested in their Chinese heritage. One of Jing-mei’s greatest fears about her trip to China is not that others will recognize her as American, but that she herself will fail to recognize any Chinese elements within herself. Waverly speaks wishfully about blending in too well in China now that it’s in fashion, Waverly likes to think that being Chinese is part of her identity, and doesn’t appreciate it when her mom points out how American Waverly.
In the story Two Kinds by Amy Tan, the main character, Jing Mei is a very straight and narrow character. Her personality much reflects the wishes of her mother. Jing Mei is a “future child prodigy” and her mother expects the best out of her. While Jing Mei is young, she listens to her mothers’ every whim and desire. It is known that in Asian households, the parents take great pride in their child’s life.
The Joy Luck Club One of the central themes in writing of the second generation Asian Americans is the search of identity and individual acceptance in American society. In the last few decades, many Asian Americans have entered a time of increased awareness of their racial and cultural identity built on their need to establish their unique American identity. In the book The Joy Luck Club, which revolves around four mother-daughter Asian American families whose mothers migrated from China to America and raised their daughters as Americans, we see the cultural struggle and differences by looking at their marriages, suffering and sacrifice, and their use of language in the novel. The fact that the fictional mothers and daughters of the story have unhappy marriages creates a common ground on which they can relate.
“I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” (Robert A. Heinlein) In Two Kinds, Amy Tan, it begins with a clear opening to one mother’s perception of the American Dream. Losing her family in China, she anticipates to recapture part of that disaster through her daughter “Ni Kan”. Nonetheless, the juvenile Jing –Mei copies her mom’s fantasy and in due time rebels against them. Jing-Mei's craving to be a normal Chinese-American girl angles into an examination for her own character and a struggle between her and her mother which will evaluate the family’s strength.
Identity and Culture Amy Tan’s ,“Mother Tongue” and Maxine Kingston’s essay, “No Name Woman” represent a balance in cultures when obtaining an identity in American culture. As first generation Chinese-Americans both Tan and Kingston faced many obstacles. Obstacles in language and appearance while balancing two cultures. Overcoming these obstacles that were faced and preserving heritage both women gained an identity as a successful American.
Justina Chen Headley explores in her book Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) the search for her protagonist’s identity, Patty Ho, which is a part Taiwanese, part American girl. Headley displays the mother as a one-dimensional parent who is holding onto conservative and traditional Taiwanese values, and is imposing her cultural values onto her daughter as a justification for her strict parenting style.
Tan, Amy, and Samuel Cohen. "Two Kinds." Literature: The Human Experience. By Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz. 11th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013, 2010, 2006, 2002. 386-94.