”Two kinds” by Amy Tan(1989) is a short story about two main characters. Jing-mei and her mother. The story displays many themes about culture clashes and a changing mother daughter relationship.
It will walk you through the whole childhood of the daughter Jing-mei from she was nine till she grows up and her mother passes away.
Jing-mei is the narrator of this story and the reader follows her point of view, making her a very subjective narrator, when all her feelings are involved, but because of her flashbacks, she also tells the story as if she now has a different view on her mother making her more objective as a narrator.
Jing-mei is a very dynamic character and her view on her upbringing will develop throughout the whole story. Everything starts when she is looking back at her childhood from when she “was nine” (p.1) and develops from there in both age and psychological stages.
The short story does not highlight the external factors of Jing-mei, but we know for sure that she is the daughter of a Chinese mother, therefore a girl and Chinese.
We do get a quick glimpse of her look when she gets her hair done. “I now had bad hair the length of a boy’s; with curly bangs that hung at a slant two inches above my eyebrows.” (p.1) She has short hair with curly bangs, in the story she likes this hairstyle even though her mom thinks she looks like a “Negro Chinese” (p.1), this part in the story is the first place she starts to rebel against her mother’s opinions.
“In fact, in the beginning I was just as excited as my mother, maybe even more so. I pictured this prodigy part of me as many different images, and I tried each one on for size. I was a dainty ballerina girl standing by the curtain ... filling the air” (p.1.)
This quote shows how she looks back on when she was “exited” to be a prodigy like her mother. “Exited” is in past tense because she is looking back on it, but it also shows, how she has lost that excitement now.
Something else to find in this quote is all the images she paints out from her mom’s excitement, she is a creative person with a mind full of images and has almost a fantasy side to her that she can get away from reality in.