Two Kinds by Amy Tan

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The author, Amy Tan is a second generation Chinese immigrant. Her parents are both Chinese immigrants. Her father and one of her brothers passed away during her early teens. At that period, she found out that her mother had been married before in China. She left her divorced ex-husband and three daughters in China. In 1987, after her mother recovered from a serious illness, they took a trip to China where Tan reunited with her half-sisters. The trip offered Tan a new perspective on her mother and inspired her to write her first book, The Joy Luck Club in 1989. Two Kinds is one of the short stories in The Joy Luck Club. The story takes place around 1960’s, where the narrator talks about her childhood and 1980’s towards the end when she had grown up to be an adult about thirty years old. In the sixties, many Chinese immigrants came to America to persuade their American Dreams. “American dream” was first attributed in James Truslow Adams’s 1931 book The Epic of America, where he refers the dream as “a dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunities according to ability or achievement.” Another key aspect of the dream is freedom, the freedom to pursue happiness in life in this new world. The conflict between Jing Mei and her mother represents the conflict of the two generation of Chinese immigrants in pursuing their American Dream. The first generation, Jing Mei’s mother, who suffered hard life in China before coming to America, emphasized more on survival in her dreams, such as to open a restaurant, to buy a big house, to be rich and famous, whereas, the daughter, who was born in the new land, never go through the hardship of life like her mother, believes in her dream of being happy, free, and most of all, being just the way she is. Jing Mei’s mother lost everything in China including her twin daughters before she came to America. She believes in the American dream of success and tried her very...
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