“Two Kinds”, Conflicts
“Two Kinds” is written by Amy Tan and it was first published in 1989. This short story tells the relationship between a mother and a daughter and the conflicts between them. The protagonist Jing Mei has both internal and external conflicts. The internal conflict is whether she wanted to be obedient. Her Conflict with her mother based on cultural difference is external. All these conflicts are expressed through setting and symbolism.
The setting of the short story is in Chinatown where Chinese domain a large proportion of residents. Jing Mei’s mother and father were the first generation that moved to the United States. They were deeply influenced by the Chinese culture and denied the acceptance of American culture through living in Chinatown, making friends with Chinese people like Auntie Lindo. Being born in the United States, Jing Mei did not believe in traditional values that her mother believed in. Additionally, we can guess when this story take place based on the age of Jing Mei. It may be in 1950s or early 1960s. From the story, Jing Mei’s mother came to the United States in 1949 after losing everything including the family. (694) Many Chinese immigrated to the United States because Japan invaded China during that period. Jing Mei’s mother came to the United States to pursue a better life and to give a better life to her daughter so she told her daughter that she could do everything in the United States. She wanted Jing Mei to be the best of herself so that she tried to find her prodigy. This setting really provides the background and the reasons why Jing Mei has both internal and external conflicts.
The symbolism of the short story is presented through the piano the piece she played at the recital. The piano is a symbol of Jing Mei’s mother’s wish that Jing Mei could be a genius. Throughout the story, Jing’s mother keeps being strict and setting high expectations. She even tried her best to get her a piano for the recital. All...
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