Essay on Two Kinds Theme

Submitted By iknowbitch
Words: 817
Pages: 4

Alice Zhang 1/8/15 “Two Kinds”, a chapter in Amy Tan’s book, Joy Luck Club explores the strained relationship between mother and daughter. While her mother has already been through an arduous journey, she and Jing-Mei embark on a different one. The central idea for this chapter revolves around the difference in culture and experience between Jing-Mei and her mother that causes Jing-Mei to struggle with her identity and eventually escalated to her fighting against her mother. Like most immigrants, Mrs. Woo believes in the promise of America: with hard work and some luck, you can become anything. She believes in America, Jing-Mei will not have to experience some of the terror, losses and difficulties of settling into a new culture as she had did. However, Mrs. Woo wants to assure Jing-Mei’s success as she and her daughter set out to find a talent that she would succeed in. At first, Jing-Mei believed her mother and was “onboard” with the idea as she mentioned, “ The prodigy in me became impatient.” (143) When Jing-Mei is unable to succeed in any field she tries and experiences pressure from her mother, she decides that her mother is robbing her of her identity and unable to accept her for who she is. Later, when her mother sets her eyes on Jing-Mei becoming a piano virtuoso, Jing-Mei tries to thwart her efforts. She does this by taking advantage of her deaf music teacher, Mr. Chong, whose eyes are too weak to follow what she is playing. When Jing-Mei participates in a talent show, despite neglecting practice, she suddenly believes that she has accomplished the American dream, as she thought “without a doubt, that the prodigy side of me really did exist.” (150) But she realizes that she isn’t after playing the piece incorrectly, hearing a weak applause and seeing her parents’ disappointed faces. Giving up on the American dream after that incident, Jing-Mei still latches on to the “tremendous burden” of the piano. Mrs. Woo, however, after all these years believed that Jing-Mei just didn’t work hard enough to reach the American dream and only after her death does Jing-Mei realize what her mother really wanted for her. Because they were separated by many factors such as age, experience, ambition and culture, they found it hard to connect to each other. This central idea of cultural difference is expressed in the diction that Amy Tan uses. Amy Tan allows readers to experience a type of English that is fragmented and grammatically incorrect. For example, Mrs. Woo criticizes a young piano player stating “’Play note right, but doesn’t sound good! No singing sound.’” (145). She also transitions from Chinese and English stating a few things in Chinese such as “Ni kan” (you look) and switching back. Jing-Mei, on the other hand speaks grammatically correct English. This sets the atmosphere of Jing-Mei’s experience growing up in a bilingual household. Within her struggle with her mother, she struggles with herself. She isn’t sure what culture she really belongs to, and tries to figure who she really is by rejecting her mother. This also causes her to reject her hereditary and identity because