Amy Tan Two Kinds Analysis

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In Amy Tan's "Two Kinds" the mother and the daughter show how through generations a relationship of understanding can be lost when traditions, dreams, and pride do not take into account individuality. By applying the concepts of Julia Kristeva and other feminist thought, one can analyze the discourse Tan uses in the story and its connection to basic feminist principles. Jing-mei and her mother understand a symbolic language, however their semiotic language is very different. In fact up on realizing Jing-mei's "failure" to be a prodigy it causes her to reject that symbolic language and a double barrier is created to a healthy relationship with one another. By analytically approaching literature with psychoanalytical concepts, French feminists …show more content…

"…after seeing my mother's disappointed face once again, something inside of me began to die…I made high-pitched noises like a crazed animal, trying to scratch out the face in the mirror…I saw what seemed to be the prodigy side of me…The girl staring back at me was angry and powerful…I won't be what I'm not." Cutting out the important semiotic language that is unique to feminist discourse, this passage exemplifies some of the main principles that Kristeva and Cixous target in the feminist analytical approach. Booker defines this semiotic language as "language that relies not on the direct expression of preexisting meaning, but on the creation of emotional impressions and effects, though sound, rhythm, and related techniques." (pg. 486, Booker) The narrator is defining the term prodigy as a unique sense of self, a powerful force within her character. The symbolic language, apparent to Jing-mei's mother, relates the term "prodigy" as something defined by a patriarchal society that decides what a feminine prodigy should be. The tension becomes apparent to the reader in this stage of the story, as well as, a sense of unique ideology of the feminist idea of

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