What Is The Theme Of Two Kinds By Ami Woo's Short Story

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Like many immigrants think, America is the land of opportunity. People from all over the

world, flee from their birth homes, wishing for a better life. Many parents seek to find a life

for their children, a life they never had. However, the shift of environment is harsh for many

families; with hard work, they have little luck. One can be successful if they act in a manner that

best suits them. On the other hand, if they are goaded to do what they aren’t passionate about, they

can’t expect an outcome. Amy Tan in her short story, “Two kinds” Mei Woo’s mother tries to forge

her daughter into becoming a prodigy to outshine ordinary children. Hence, she tries to live

vicariously through her daughter. Thus, there is a separation between
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Furthermore, in this story, Jing-Mei’s mother had her mind fixed on thinking that she

needed to become someone to be successful. Therefore, in Jing-Mei’s journey, she is looking for

her own identity. In addition, Jing-Mei says, “then I saw what seemed to be the prodigy side of

me”(2). Unlike Chinese culture, Jing-Mei starts to revolt against her mother. As a result of her

mother living vicariously through her, Jing-Mei starts to act defiantly. Furthermore, there is a

tension between the first generation, American daughter, and her immigrant mother. At this point in

the Hero’s Journey, David describes what is needed as preparation for the quest, preparations

like, “supplies, helpers, information”(The Heros Journey 2). In this case, Mei-Woo brings along

her ego in order to extirpate her mothers hope. However, her mother quickly picked up

something new, as she watched the Ed Sullivan show her mother, “seemed entranced by the

music, a frenzied little piano piece”(Two Kinds 2). Although Mei-Woo frequently failed her

expectations, not showing promise in any field her mother finally decides that she will become
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Therefore, as Mei-Woo makes her return, she first makes a

transformation. She acquires a new way of thinking, she expresses, “I could only be me”(Two

KInds 7). Unlike her mother, she does not see the world through the way, she raised her to see it.

Hence, her mother’s dreams were not hers.

In her return, Mei-Woo makes one last discovery. She notices two titles, “Pleading Child”

and “Perfectly Contented” realizing, “they were two halves of the same song”(8). Through this

realization, she now understands and no longer feels a gap between her mother. Nevertheless, there

is now a bond, and a consolidation bringing together her old self and her American and Chinese


In Jing-Mei Woo’s journey, she fought an internal battle to find something that was

important for someone her age. However, she felt pushed to her limit as her mother expected her to

be a paragon. Her mother was ingrained in her Chinese culture, therefore expected nothing but

obedience from her daughter. However, because of these two conflicting personalities, Jing-Mei

finds nothing but confusion within herself as she tried to find balance. Nonetheless, within

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