Two Kinds


A key point I picked up upon reading this story was the impact assimilation can have on a person. Two Kinds by Amy Tan, tells the story about a foreign Chinese mother, who’s own past makes her want to raise her daughter up as an all new kind of “American Child Star”; the Chinese Shirley Temple. Her daughter further on explains that, “America was where all my mother’s hopes lay [had laid]. She had come here in 1949 after losing everything in China”(Tan 1222). I definitely see this as the mother’s way of trying to make it big in America, as too much trouble sprouts from China; at least in her case. I also reflect this off of the historical period that America had been going through…segregation, whites on top, minors below. On these terms, it appeared as if the mother wanted her daughter to be accepted in America’s white society, ex. She chose Shirley Temple as a teacher figure for her daughter and was willing to place curls, similar to Shirley’s, inside of her own daughter’s hair; thereby awakening the “prodigy” in the daughter. This would back up the point in which the author states as a being a myth, though in my opinion, debatable as truth. “…America is a melting pot, but what happens in assimilation is that we end up deliberately choosing the American things–hot dogs and apple pie–and ignoring the Chinese offerings”(Tan 1221).

Later on we seem to see the daughter’s “assimilation” turn against her mother in a negative way . She was corresponding to the American change, but not in the way the mother had hoped for. We witness the daughter say, “I didn’t have to do what my mother said anymore…This wasn’t China”(Tan 1228).This comment had me laugh. To myself, I was like she’s beginning to get reckless. This was beginning to show that while the mother was trying to settle her daughter in, she didn’t realize how much of an impact America’s freedom would have on her child.

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