Parent-Child Relationship Contrasts
(“Two kinds” & “Angela’s Ashes”)
“Two kinds”, by Amy Tan is about a young immigrant Chinese girl, Jing-Mei. The story throws light on the difficult and rude (or what she thought) relationship she shared with her mother. The story is set in the early 1950’s, when America is just out of the war and entering great economic highs. Everyone believed in living the “American Dream”. Jing-Mei’s mother believed in the same. On the other hand, “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt, is set in the sad phase of American economic history, the late 1930-1940’s. The story is a monograph of Frank’s miserable childhood and his unacceptable relationship with his drunkard father. It has been written as a humorous account of Frank’s life and problems without any self-pity or self-loathing. Jing-Mei’s mother was a Chinese immigrant who had lost it all in the civil war. Even after having lost her family (father, first husband and twin daughters), she didn’t lose hope and came to America in search of the “American Dream” everyone talked of. Jing-Mei’s mother believed in her daughter. She wanted Jing-Mei to have everything she herself never had. She wanted Jing-Mei to be successful and famous. To achieve these goals, she worked hard, not only to make money, but also with Jing-Mei. She made her join piano classes; sat with Jing-Mei for hours teaching her things she thought would help her in becoming a prodigy. Her mother encouraged Jing-Mei’s “unfound” talents. In contrast to this, Frank McCourt’s father was a drunkard. He might have wanted his son to have a healthy life but he never really worked for it. All that he earned he would spend on alcohol. On one hand Jing-Mei is overly paid attention to and she is not too happy with the fact. “Every night after dinner my mother and I would sit at the Formica topped kitchen. …” “So now when my mother presented tests, I performed listlessly, with my head popped on one arm”. Jing-Mei did not appreciate...
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