Two Kinds is a story found in the book ‘ The Joy Luck Club’, written by Amy Tan. The short story is about the conflict between a mother and her daughter who are clearly separated by things such as age, culture and perception. Jing-Mei Woo is the main character, and it is clear from the beginning that the high expectations her mother has over her affect her way of life. Through the unfolding events that the author gives, we get to understand the course that events took. In essence, whereas Woo saw Jing-Mei as a prodigy in piano playing, Jing-Mei detested this internally to the extent that he ashamed her mother in the church by playing the piano poorly (Tan, 23). Her perception, however, changes once Woo passes on. In an interesting turn of event, the author narrates what happens between a daughter who lacks ambition and a mother who is determined to see her daughter find a talent and become a prodigy.
Clearly, the author of ‘ Two Kinds’ has an intention of making the readers think hard about the story’s meaning. This is demonstrated by the author’s choice of words where the author avoids speaking as an analyzer to explain the problem that existed between the mother and the daughter. The author adopts her own point of view to explain her perceptions, feelings and experiences that come with the story. She avoids giving a judgment, thus avoiding giving her opinion. The author seeks to give a narration of her feelings towards the events that happened during his childhood, avoiding giving a possible solution.
In one way or another, the writer states how various people interact in the society. By explaining this, the author gives the readers a great chance to interpret the narration fairly the reasons that might lead to conflicts. Her intention, clearly, is to ensure that the reader understands the essential contrast that existed between adults and the narrator in the story. In the story, several righteous decisions exist from people. This is ironical on the part of the readers. The mother claims her son to be ‘ Beethoven’, adopting an aggressive attitude to ensure that her daughter learned from the piano teacher. The narration clearly brings out the difference that exists between young people and old people in the society. This is shown in a number of scenarios. The mothers have similar attitudes; that their daughters are not working hard by putting all their effort in whatever they do. This is best portrayed by what happens between the narrator and her mother. Whereas the daughter is of the opinion that they should not be pressured because they are trying their best, the mother insists that the daughter ought to improve on whatever they are doing (Bloom, 43). The daughter feels that instead of being criticized by her mother, she should be complimented instead. Clearly, the mother neglects the efforts that the daughter puts in, insisting on the need for her to put extra effort to whatever she was doing. The author’s choice to narrate the conversations that she encountered ensures readers get to perceive an implication as to why there will exist a conflict between the mother and the daughter. The author’s decision to give the narration from such a point of view is essential as it gives the readers the task to think deeply and interpret the narration correctly.
The approach that the narrator gives the story is essential as it enables readers to understand the stress and struggle that the narrator faced from her standpoint. This depicts the differences and conflicts that exist between the elderly in the society and the youth. From the beginning, the narrator works hard with the aim of reaching the expectations of her mother. It is because of this that she decides not to respond to the attempts of the mother to find her prodigy. After she played the piano poorly, thereby embarrassing her mother, she felt that something inside her was dying slowly. In essence, it was her pride and confidence that were dying. The narrator constantly questions her mother for trying to change the way she is. For instance, when the mother was sending her to the piano school, her response was to the effect: “ why don’t you like me the way I am?”( Tan, 34). From this point, the reader gets to understand the perception the daughter had towards her mother, feeling that the mother never liked her. Such a thought led to frustrations because the narrator had a feeling that her mother never cared for her because she never accepted her the way she was. It is because of this reason that she stops following instructions from the mother so as to protest against the endless expectations from the mother.
The fact that the daughter felt as though she was ignored by her mother is ironical. At one point, the author puts it in such a way that the reader gets the perception that the daughter is completely against her mother’s attempts to make her a prodigy. However, such a position is contradicted at other points. There is enough evidence in the story that she cared about what her mother thought about her. After the piano recital, for instance, the narrator discloses what devastated her most: the expression on her mother’s face, which she described as a ‘ quiet, blank look that said she had lost everything.’(Evans, 54). This admission explains the extent to which the emotion of her mother influenced her even after she had asserted that the mother would not change her anymore. The impact the author achieves in making the readers stand in the narrator’s shoes and analyze whether the daughter really hated her mother or not. By this, one gets to understand the origin of her decision to become lazy. Eventually, one gets to understand that the narrator was immature in attempting to force her mother accept her the way that she was.
The manner that the narrator develops the story is commendable. From the beginning, she creates a picture of somebody who is against the directions given by her mother. However, she does not directly show her opinion. Her general perception is that she has developed from a young naïve person to mature person who understands the essence of rules and instructions. Whereas from the beginning she ignored her mother’s instructions, she believes that she should have followed them when she was young. In many ways, she laments for having wasted time. For instance, she argues to the effect that ‘ so maybe I never really gave myself a fair chance. I did pick up the basics pretty quickly, and I might have become a good pianist at that young age’(Madison, 32). Whereas this has an impact of enlightening the reader that the narrator had misbehaved in her childhood, the reader is given a motivation to learn at any opportunity available. It is towards the end that the narrator notices that she had never noticed that the song that she used to play was incomplete. By this, the reader gets to understand the narrator as a person who never appreciated learning. This means that the narrator never exploited her prodigy part of life.
The choice of words by the narrator makes the readers sympathize with her. For instance, one gets the feeling that the narrator got frustrated whenever she failed meeting expectations, fantasized of being famous and consistently resisted to being changed, consequently misbehaving against her mother(Madison, 56). Because of this, one gets to understand that the two parties in the story had their standpoints which they defended. This makes it inappropriate to pick a style of evaluating the story critically.
Our writers will create one from scratch for
Bloom, Harold. Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2002. Print.
Evans, Robert C. Critical Insights the Joy Luck Club : [by Amy Tan. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem, 2010. Print.
Madison, D. Soyini. The Woman That I Am: The Literature and Culture of Contemporary Women of Color. New York: St. Martin’s, 1994. Print.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Putnam’s, 1989. Print.