Thesis: In Two Kinds, Amy Tan uses defiant americanized Jing-Mei and her native mother’s expectation of obedience to depict the clash of the cultures and its effect on the relationship between the two.
I. Jing-Mei is overpowered by her hopeful and ambitious mother who believes that anything is possible and is willing to take any measures to achieve it: however her ambitious nature weighs heavy on Jing Mei and places strains on their relationship. a. “My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America” I. “Like many immigrants to the United States, Jing-mei’s mother has created visions of her adopted country as a land of opportunity where all dreams may be realized (Brent)”
II. Culture aspect because mother holds ambitions shared my immigrants and childlike faith B. “You could open a restaurant. You could work for the government and get good retirement You could buy a house with almost no money down. you could be instantly famous” I. “Opening paragraph introduces an element of irony in the narrator’s attitude toward her mother’s vision of America as a place where “you could become anything you wanted to be (Brent)”. II. Her mother has unreal expectations because she expected her to achieve greatness instantly
C. “Soon after my mother got this idea about Shirley Temple, she took me to the beauty training school in the Mission District and put me in the hands of a student who could barely hold the scissors without shaking.” I. “Her mother’s American dreams, function as a symbol of hope for a brighter future for her daughter(Brent)” II. Her mother is doing what she believes to be best for Jing- Mei but is causing her to resent her.
III. “When she looks in the mirror one night, she sees only her mother’s of her as a failure and a disappointment(Brent)” II. Her mother’s asian culture means that pride and honor paired with the sacrifice of her other children make Jing- Mei an outlet for her mother to channel all her hopes and dreams into. A. “And after seeing, once again, my mother’s disappointed face, something inside me began to die.” I. “Jing-Mei’s sense of failure to embody her mother’s hopes and dreams is…distressful (Brent)”.
B. “Three days after watching the Ed Sullivan Show my mother told me what my schedule would be for piano lessons and piano practice.” i. again her mother is trying her best to make Mei-Jing be better than she was trying to vicariously live through her Conclusion: Although Mei-Jing initially resents her mother’s cultural exceptions of her initially she then realizes as she comes of age that her mother only has her best interest in hear. The piano symbolizes the struggle to stay true to herself but also trying to remain obedient and respectful to her mother. Acceptance of the piano as a gift symbolizes her mother’s forgiveness of her. Coming of age means maturity for Mei-Jing and regret towards her actions when younger.