The Importance Of The American Dream In Two Kinds

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Success is the core of American society, as it drives innovation and motivates people to work harder in order to achieve their goals— but at what cost? The short fiction story, Two Kinds written by Amy Tan exemplifies the consequences of overvaluing success versus relationships. Tan explores the American Dream and its effects on a strained relationship between a Chinese immigrant and her Chinese-American daughter. Cultural indifference creates a constant power struggle between Jing Mei and her mother in Two Kinds that ultimately leads to the demise of their relationship. Contrasting cultural upbringings contribute to the vast difference in the expectations of success. Jing-mei’s mother’s background in China fueled her desire to start a more successful life in…show more content…
The American Dream is common ideal upheld by immigrants and popularized during prosperous periods in American history like the 1920’s, or otherwise known as the “roaring” 20’s. The American Dream is best described as the ideal that the United States is the land of opportunity, success, and prosperity if achieved through hard work, determination, and initiative. Jing’s mother believes that Jing can be strive for the impossible simply because she is American while Jing believes that she can only be herself and achieve the bare-minimum standards. Her mother forces Jing to attend piano lessons for a year and signs her up for a recital. At the recital, another Chinese mother of a chess champion challenges Jing-mei’s mother with the champion’s achievements. The conversation prompts Jing’s mother to brag about Jing’s talent: “And my mother squared her shoulders and bragged: ‘Our problem worser than yours. If we ask Jing-mei wash dish, she hear nothing but music. It’s like you can’t stop this natural talent.’” (Tan 388) The author utilizes imagery in this dialogue to illustrate the mother’s squared off shoulders indicating her defensive nature when challenged by another Chinese
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