Two Kinds of Girls in Amy Tan's 'Two Kinds' and Jamaica Kincaid's 'Girl'

Good Essays
A person spends most of their developing years under the guidance of their parents or guardians.

They affect how we think, how we feel, and how we act. These are among the people who hold the

greatest influence. Amy Tan's 'Two Kinds' and Jamaica Kincaid's 'Girl' both deal with the relationship

between a young girl and the guiding force in her life. Amy Tan tells of a mother's expectation for her

daughter to be a child prodigy. Jamaica Kincaid tells of an unknown person describing to a girl how to be

a 'good' girl. Both essays illustrate an authority figure that has expectations for a young female and why

and how those expectations will come about.

As young children growing up without a care in the world, we cannot comprehend why authority

figures dictate how we should behave. In 'Two Kinds', the daughter is expected to be a child prodigy

because her mother believes 'you can be anything you want in America'. The mother sees other children

with amazing talents and thinks her child could be just as talented, if not more so. She continually places

pressure on her daughter to be some kind of prodigy. The daughter is expected to be a great beauty with

unmatched dance abilities, an untapped wealth of useless information, and piano-playing skills like no

other. In 'Girl', the expectations are much lower, but just as stringent. The girl is expected to do a

myriad of chores and to become a 'lady'. She is advised on how she should act and how she can avoid

being a 'slut'.

In 'Two Kinds', the mother has high hopes; she believes a person can be anything they want in

America and she wants a daughter who excels in some area. All of the mother's hopes lay on the

daughter. Her hopes are bolstered by stories about remarkable children with incredible talents. If they

can succeed are such a young age, surely her child can as well. The mother wants her daughter to be the

best she can be, but she has unrealistic expectations. The girl in Jamaica Kincaid's essays is

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