The Two Kinds by Amy Tan

Research about the author

Amy Tam was born in February 19th 1952, she is a best selling author of the Chinese American literature, her a stories are often base on the conflicts between mother and daughter. Both of her parents are Chinese immigrants, her father, electrical engineer and Baptist minister who came live in America as he exiled from the uproar of Chinese Civil. In 1949, her mother Daisy escaped from Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution by Communists, she lost her parental rights of the three children as she parted with her husband, despite of his physical abuse. Since her father had died after her as a college student, the rebellion towards her mother emerged and started long term conflict.

“My parents had very high expectations. They expected me to get straight A’s from the time I was in kindergarten.Quotation from Amy Tan from Uniquely Personal Storyteller interview in June 28, 1996 Sun Valley, Idaho.

From this quotation, I could see that there are certain connections between the protagonist(Jing Mei) in the Two Kind. Amy and Ling Mei both had parents who constantly put pressure and had high expectation on them, except Amy Tan was a highly achieved child from a very small age.

They just didn’t understand. They didn’t know who I really was. They didn’t know how much the smallest amount of recognition would have meant to me and how the smallest amount of criticism could undo me said Amy Tan.

Orientation (who, when what, where, how)

The two kinds by Amy Tan was is a fictional short story about a little Chinese girl grew up as a immigrant in American at the China town of Nairobi (California). It is a story child’s obedience for her and mother became torn apart.

Complication (conflict, problems)

The Complication of the story starts with the girl being awfully strained due to her mother’s constantly putting tension in her to become famous, or to make achievement that can be widely admired by other. Her mother wanted so much to brag in front of people about how exceptional her child is, like Auntie Lind’s daughter Waverly; “The Chinatown’s Littlest Chess champion”. Jing Mei mesmerize into the stardom of fame, though she began to feel compressed by the daily duties and failed expectation from her mother. The truth is that she simply desires to be herself and not what her mother expects.

Series if Event

 The Series of event were the continuing “clash” between the protagonist and her mother. Her mother did not give up on Jing Mei, (even after she decide to fail the tests on purpose). After watching a little Chinese girl playing a piano in the TV, her mother put her into piano lessons with a retired piano teacher named Mr. Chong. Mr. Chong was deaf and Jing Mei felt free to become lazy and runaway from mistakes, for whatever reason she was reluctant to do well. All these opportunities that her mother pushes in made Jing Mei more resistant to reach the expectation.


The Climax was when the girl gets to perform in the talent show at the church with lot’s of people from the social club. Jing Mei faced humiliation despite the fact she was so confident of performing. As she thought she will never have to touch the piano again, although she was wrong. As her mother urged her again, the rebellious side of her came and cried “Then I wish I weren’t your daughter, I wish you weren’t my mother,”

After that, the mother quickly lost hopes, as the years go by the protagonist aim not to follow almost any ambition.

“I failed her many times, each time asserting my will, my right to fall short of expectations. I didn’t get straight As. I didn’t become class president. I didn’t get into Stanford. I dropped out of college.”


In Jing Mei’s thirtieth birthday, her mother gave her the old piano. Jig Mei did not accept it but months after her mother died, she took it in. Jing Mei looked at it as a delightful trophy. The Piece she once played in the talent show still remained in the piano bench and she picked up the notes quickly. She then also tries to play another piece called “Perfectly Content” she realized both pieces were the part of the two song.

The song itself reflects on the protagonist’s life, from being a obedient Pleading Child to a free, content person how follows their mind. This represents the meaning to the title, “The Two Kinds”.




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