Two Halves of the Same Song

Topics: Narrative, First-person narrative, Amy Tan Pages: 2 (746 words) Published: November 8, 2006
Two Halves Of The Same Song

One of the crucial components of Amy Tan's "Two Kinds" is her choice of narrator. This narrative voice develops the story by adding to the characters. By using this narrator, Amy Tan allows the story to come alive through the eyes of a child. Jing-Mei, who is the daughter of a Chinese immigrant, paints the picture of her relationship between herself and her overbearing mother. Being the protagonist of the story, Jing-Mei is able to portray what she is going through as the storyteller. This choice of first person narrative allows the audience to look through the eyes of a young Chinese-American girl and take part in her coming of age. If the author chose another character as narrator, the childlike characteristics and personality would have been lost. In comparison, Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing" allows the mother to become the narrator. The mother expresses the difficulties her daughter went through as she was growing up. The mother sends her daughter away to her father's home and then to an orphanage facility. Unfortunately, because of her inability to care for Emily at such a young age, she has the present guilt that she was never able to care for her like she was the others. This is one instance where point of view and the choice of the narrator have a major impact on the outcome of the story. If the story were to be told by the daughter, it could have potentially had a completely different theme, as well as outcome. Due to the coming of age of the young Jing-Mei, she takes quite a turn in attitude and on multiple attempts she tries to demolish her mother's dreams. Jing-Mei shouts, "I wish I wasn't your daughter. I wish you weren't my mother"(200). Her change of heart comes as she fails the tests that her mother places in front of her and her mother's look of disappointment only seem to add fuel to the fire. By this time, Jing-Mei no longer aspires to be something special, but only desires independence. Jing-Mei...

Cited: Tan, Amy. "Two Kinds." Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 8th ed.
Eds. Edgar V Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2007.
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