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Two Kinds (1989) Essay

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2020


A child’s upbringing is one of the most important aspects of a person’s growth. Depending on the values instilled in an individual, they affect the way a person views life. Creating the best attitude in a child is one of the major influences that a parent or a guardian should carry out. The author of the story Two Kinds (Amy Tan) told of a mother who believed anything the daughter wanted to be in America was possible (Tan 193).

She tried everything she could to ensure her daughter became famous like her cousin, but the daughter had a different view of who she wanted to be. Among the many struggles they had between them, the best description could be either Tan was obedient or disobedient kind of a child.

Thesis Statement

While bringing up children, it is important to advise them on the decisions they should make in life but one should not decide for them what they should be since it is upon them to choose what they wish to be and what they would not, which is controlled by who they are.

Analysis of Two Kinds

Hope is paramount in every person in being what one wants to be. Even after losing everything, including her family members in China, Tan’s mother was still hopeful and for her, there were so many ways things could get better (Tan 193).

One of the ways things could get better for her was through fame in her daughter. To achieve this, she tried many things, which included training her to be a Shirley Temple, a great reader through reading and reciting from memory and taking her for piano classes.

However, not all her efforts to influence the girl and create the attitude of search for fame bore fruits. The culture of reading books and magazines made the evenings after dinner interesting. She used to get challenged by the children stories gathered by her mother from the houses she worked for.

One of those stories was the genius “three-year-old boy who knew the capitals of all the states and even most of the European countries” (Tan 194). It developed a need in Tan to read for more knowledge.

Though the foundation could be well laid, it is important for any individual to come to a point of self-discovery. An individual gets to this level after specific triggers or failure to be understood by the people they interact with.

For Tan, her moment of self-discovery came after getting disappointed by her mother’s attitude on memorizing scriptures. She made decisions to be who she was but not trying to be somebody else. Despite many struggles that followed between her and the mother, she was firm in being herself and remaining the person she was.

After self-discovery, many things against the interest and preferences of individuals become valueless. They get all manners of description and at times the people associated with them end up getting the same description.

In Tan’s description of Mr. Chong the Piano teacher, and his wife, depicted a negative attitude towards them and playing the piano becomes a bother to her since she was not interested as she was forced to take the lessons (Tan 195). Though Mr. Chong enjoyed teaching the Piano, the disinterested Tan could not enjoy the class; to her, she was doing the lessons to avoid any further conflict with her mother.

No matter the efforts put in place to make sure the child become what the parents or guardian wants, an individual can only be the person he or she wants to be. If the parents push so hard against the will of the child, the child ends up embarrassing them which no parents ever dream of.

Though it may be easy to accept that an individual can be what they want to be, at times what the elder people wish the child could become gets revealed to the person latter in life. Depending on how it would be handled at the time of rebellion, it affects future chances of talent or skill that needed to be instilled to be appreciated.

For Tan, due to the hate of the imposed talent and search for fame by the mother when she was young, she could never see anything good in playing a piano. Out of this it made her so stubborn and less concerned about the pianos which led her to failure even in public performance (Tan 195).

She did not care what the outcome for her bad performance could be, hers was to do it for her parents; she was not part of it. This shows that, rebellion against parents could be born from anything, including the things the parents think they are fit for their children. This leads to children blaming their parents for their failures and parents blaming children for disobedience.


Many are the times when parents and guardian wish their children to be what they perceive they should be. Though many parents manage to instill some talents in their children, others do not work.

If a child’s likes and preferences do not match those of the parents it is very important for a parent to create room for the child to exercise what they think is best for them. Theirs should be just to offer guidance and counsel where necessary to avoid conflict and embarrassment that could come from forcing decisions.

Works Cited

Tan, Amy. The People in Fiction” Two Kinds. New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 1989. Print.

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