Self-Identity In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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“Two Kinds” is a short story within Amy tan’s most popular novel, The Joy Luck Club. The book is divided into four connected sections with each containing a group of stories that could stand alone. Similar to the other short stories within the collection, “Two Kinds” is a representation of the complexities mother-daughter relationships encounter in San Francisco’s China-town. The focus of the story is the troublesome but unavoidable gap between mothers born in China before the communist revolution and their American-born daughters who must settle the burden of their Chinese ancestry and American dream of success. Although the protagonist of the story Jing-Mei constantly pushes away her mother’s desires to make her a musical prodigy, she gains insight into her mother’s reasoning decades later. Tan’s short story “Two Kinds” is a powerful work over the problems of self-identity and community in America during the twentieth century. Amy Tan explores the multicultural nation of America by the use of many literary tools without compromising the quality of the story. She uses a first person point of view to share the mother’s attempts to control her daughter’s aspirations and dreams, providing a better understanding of how their relationship worsens. While many see Amy Tan as a major figure of the collective voice of…show more content…
In “Two Kinds”, Tan builds up the romantic concept of cultural essence and loss of ethnic roots in order to thoroughly erode and reconstruct the idea of cultural essence. The mother-daughter relationship is symbolized by the comparison of native-foreigner. For example, “the narrative of separation and return –symbolized by Jing-Mei’s return to China/ mother –on the plot level is questioned by the rhetorical structure of the text which undercuts any notions of simple identification of origins or of a cultural “reality” easily available for access” (Bloom,
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