Amy Tan's Two Kinds

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Conflict in Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds” Amy Tan’s, “Two Kinds”, is a short story of a Chinese immigrant mother’s conflict with her daughter Jing-Mei. In this story, Jing-Mei tells of how she resisted her mother’s overbearing efforts to inspire her to reach her fullest potential twenty years ago. Jing Mei’s mother only wanted her daughter to be a prodigy in some way. So she dominated and controlled her daughter’s life. When these traits did not surface, Jing-Mei began to realize she did not have these traits and started to feel internally inferior. She slowly started to resent her mother’s continual control over her decisions and went in a different direction than her mother wanted her too. In Amy Tan’s short story, “Two Kinds”, the dialogue Tan includes within Jing-Mei’s flashback demonstrates that conflict and resentment can occur when not allowing your child to take his/her own path. In the beginning of the flashback, Jing-Mei’s mother is shown to be trying to control and dominate her daughter’s life. When she moved away from China, Jing-Mei’s mother had a vision that in America, you could be anything that you wanted to be. She especially wanted her daughter to be a prodigy. When Jing-Mei’s mother says, “Of course you can be prodigy too”, and insists that she train and work towards being this, it shows the way her mother controlled Jing-Mei’s decisions and life (305). To ensure that Jing-Mei became a prodigy, her mother controlled her daughter by setting her to do many difficult tasks such as memorizing the bible and the capital of states (306). Her mother also gave Jing-Mei many tests such as multiplying numbers in her head, finding the queen of hearts in a deck of cards, and predicting daily temperatures (306). Jing-Mei is not able to pass the lessons and tests in a way that fulfills her mother’s expectations, which disappoints her mother. When Tan
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