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Two Kinds by Amy Tan

Todays Date: September 23, 2018

Amy Tan is a Chinese-American writer, who wrote many novels; though one of her famous ones is considered to be The Joy Luck Club. It is interesting to know that many of her short stories included in this book were published separately one from another even before the book in whole was released. This piece of literature is considered a great success as it is being not a simple book, but with the autobiographical background.
The writer’s family background is colourful, and Amy has described much about her mother’s and grandmother’s past in writing her novel, especially in The Joy Luck Club. The book has been a bestseller for over a year and then was made into a successful movie called The Kitchen God’s Wife. So as it was mentioned before, it was the first time Amy Tan has written autobiographically.
The short story called Two Kinds is the last one in Amy Tan’s successful book The Joy Luck Club. The writer supposed that her book would be read as a collection of interrelated stories, but it is often perceived as a novel. Several of the stories appeared in the periodical Atlantic Monthly separately. The short story Two Kinds was firstly published in this magazine in February 1989; even it happened one month before the whole collection was released.
The story Two Kinds, like all other stories in the book, is concerned with the complicated relationships between two generations – but particularly, mothers and daughters. The author’s main subject is the nation’s distance between mothers born in China and cut from their native culture for many years, and their American born daughters, which have to balance between their Chinese ancestry and American expectations for gaining the success.
The narrator of Two Kinds is Jing-mei, who resists her mother’s great wish to remake her into a musical prodigy. She wants her daughter to be talented and to compete with one of her friend’s daughters. Jing-mei mentions these events after a term of more than twenty years; the writer still tries to understand her mother’s intensions.
It is interesting that the mother and the daughter reveal their inner personality with the help of the language, actions, gestures and thoughts. It seems that the conflict goes on between the two women, whose cultures and aspirations do not coincide. It may be said that Two Kinds centers on the conflict between two kinds of women and two kinds of daughters.
These two women – Jing-mei and her mother – are being two different kinds of women, because they have almost opposite life experience. Before America the mother has lost much in China: her parents, her home, her first husband, and two twin baby girls. But she never regretted and looked back at the past. She is sure that America is the country of opportunities. She tells her daughter the following words that express all her thoughts: ‘…you could be anything you wanted to be in America. You could open a restaurant. You could work for the government and get good retirement.

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