The story opens with a brief synopsis of Jing-Mei’s mother’s past. As a Chinese immigrant fleeing from war, her mother leaves behind everything: “her mother and father, her family home, her first husband, and two daughters, twin baby girls.” (Tan 206) As a resident in America, Jing-Mei’s mother does not wallow in misery but instead looks forward to a life with limitless boundaries, honestly believing that “[y]ou could become instantly famous.” (Tan 206) Brent tells us that Chinese immigrants view America as a true land of opportunity and that tradition demands a daughter’s obedience to her mother (1). With a history steeped in traditional Chinese culture and a spirit of adventure, her mother decides Jing-Mei will fulfill this dream and become a child prodigy.
At first, the anticipation of riches and fame propel Jing-Mei into cooperating with her mother, persuading Jing-Mei in the belief she can attain perfection. She imagines herself in several wonderful images, each colorful and immensely sati...
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...elf. In a broader context, Tan says our tendencies to mold our children into our ideal image of success often works against the universal struggle to find one’s identity. Television, powerful advertising, clever marketing, and the myriad opinions of everyone we know swirl around us in a cacophony of conflicting messages, often drowning our pleas for time and space to get to know ourselves and find contentment in being what we are and not what someone else wants us to be.
Tan, Amy. “Two Kinds”. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Longman. Boston. 10th ed.
Brent, Liz. "Overview of 'Two Kinds'." Short Stories for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 9. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. Document URL
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