Success and Failure in Two Kinds by Amy Tan Essay

Success and Failure in Two Kinds by Amy Tan Essay

Length: 1878 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Amy Tan, a child of Chinese immigrants, wrote the story “Two Kinds”, telling the tale of a Jing-Mei’s rebellion against her mother’s desire to change her into a prodigy. As Jing-Mei’s mother continually tells her she does not try hard enough to succeed, the conflict between Jing-Mei and her mother escalates. Jing-Mei grows more stubborn, making every effort to resist her mother, and the relationship devolves into a standoff where mother and daughter both refuse to budge from their position. “Two Kinds” shows the irony in Jing-Mei’s relationship with her mother; while her mother believes Jing-Mei does not try hard enough to succeed, Jing-Mei succeeds in her struggle for identity by refusing to become the person her mother wants.

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...

... middle of paper ...

...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.

Works Cited

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

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Two Kinds by Amy Tan Essay

- 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]

Term Papers
660 words (1.9 pages)

Point of View in Amy Tan’s Short Story, Two Kinds Essay

- Point of View in Amy Tan’s Short Story, Two Kinds In her short story "Two Kinds," Amy Tan utilizes the daughter's point of view to share a mother's attempts to control her daughter's hopes and dreams, providing a further understanding of how their relationship sours. The daughter has grown into a young woman and is telling the story of her coming of age in a family that had emigrated from China. In particular, she tells that her mother's attempted parental guidance was dominated by foolish hopes and dreams....   [tags: Two Kinds, Amy Tan]

Term Papers
1088 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about Amy Tan 's Two Kinds

- From the beginning of time, mothers and daughters have had their conflicts, tested each other’s patience, and eventually resolved their conflicts. In the story “Two Kinds,” written by Amy Tan, Jing-Mei and her mother are the typical mother-daughter duo that have their fair share of trials. Jing-Mei is an American Chinese Girl who struggles to please her mother by trying to be the “Prodigy” that her mother wishes for. Her mother has great ideas to make her daughter famous with hopes that she would become the best at everything she did....   [tags: Piano, Amy Tan, Family, Conflict]

Term Papers
819 words (2.3 pages)

Unfulfilled Dreams in Amy Tan’s Two Kinds Essay

- The short story “Two Kinds” written by Amy Tan is about conflict between a mother and daughter. A mother tries to live her life through her daughter and her daughter rebels. The prominent theme of this short story would seem to be "unfulfilled dreams”. After losing everything in China, the mother of Jing Mei comes to America with the dream that Jing Mei will have it all: fame, fortune, and most of all success unlike herself. Little does she know, her dream will be short-lived. All Parents have dreams for their children....   [tags: Two Kinds by Amy Tan]

Term Papers
793 words (2.3 pages)

The Relationship Between a Mother and Daughter in Two Kinds by Amy Tan Essay

- "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan is about the intricacies and complexities in the relationship between a mother and daughter. Throughout the story, the mother imposes upon her daughter, Jing Mei, her hopes and dreams for her. Jing Mei chooses not what her mother wants of her but only what she wants for herself. She states, "For, unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could be only me" (Tan 1). Thus this "battle of wills" between mother and daughter sets the conflict of the story....   [tags: Two Kinds, Amy Tan]

Term Papers
972 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Two Kinds by Amy Tan

- 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....   [tags: Two Kinds, Amy Tan]

Term Papers
966 words (2.8 pages)

Two Kinds by Amy Tan Essay

- In the story 'Two Kinds'; by Amy Tan, we are shown the struggles of a young girl Jing-Mei. Her struggle is that of a young girl growing up and trying to find her own sense of identity. Her troubles are compounded by her mother, who convinces her that she can become someone important. Because of her mother's constant overbearing behavior, Jing-Mei does everything she can to annoy and displease her mother even to the point of being a failure. This fight to find her own identity against her mother's wishes shows how parents cannot control their child's life; they can only point them in the right direction and let them make their own choices....   [tags: Two Kinds, Amy Tan]

Term Papers
507 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on Two Kinds by Amy Tan

- "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]

Term Papers
1057 words (3 pages)

Essay on Transformation to Womanhood in Two Kinds by Amy Tan

- Transformation to Womanhood in Two Kinds For a lot of us growing up, our mothers have been an integral part of what made us who we are. They have been the one to forgive us when no one else could. They have been the one to comfort us when the world seemed to turn to evil. They have been the one to shelter us when the rain came pouring down. And most importantly, they have been the one to love us when we needed it the most. In "Two Kinds," by Amy Tan, Jing-mei is a young daughter of a Chinese immigrant....   [tags: Two Kinds, Amy Tan]

Free Essays
757 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Analysis of Two Kinds by Amy Tan

- Analysis of Two Kinds by Amy Tan In the story “Two Kinds”, the author, Amy Tan, intends to make reader think of the meaning behind the story. She doesn’t speak out as an analyzer to illustrate what is the real problem between her and her mother. Instead, she uses her own point of view as a narrator to state what she has experienced and what she feels in her mind all along the story. She has not judged what is right or wrong based on her opinion. Instead of giving instruction of how to solve a family issue, the author chooses to write a narrative diary containing her true feeling toward events during her childhood, which offers reader not only a clear account, but insight on how the narrat...   [tags: Two Kinds, Amy Tan]

Free Essays
1425 words (4.1 pages)