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Two Kinds (Short Story)

Teenagers may disagree with their parents on a number of issues such as marriage and education. Parents want what is best for their child, yet their child may feel the opposite. Why do these misunderstandings occur?

Do you feel that these issues are relevant for teenagers from all cultures or does it only apply for Chinese American mothers? Look up the definition of Tiger Mothers before you start reading. Is Jingmei's (the main character) mother a Tiger Mother?

Amy Tan was born in Oakland, California in 1952 to Chinese immigrant parents. A common theme in her work is cross-cultural conflicts, the tensions and challenges experienced by people living their lives between two cultures. An other is the sometimes rocky relationships between mothers and daughters. The Joy Luck Club, published in 1989, was an instant success; it was made into a blockbuster film in 1993. Her most recent books include The Bonesetter's Daughter (2001), and Saving Fish from Drowning, from 2005.

In the short story "Two Kinds", a Chinese immigrant mother sees the accomplishments of her American born-and-bred daughter as proof of her own successful adaptation to her new country, believing that anything is possible in the USA. As it turns out, however, the daughter has a will of her own and wants to go her own ways.

More on Chinese immigration

Chinese immigration to the USA goes back a long way. In the middle of the last century, Chinese coolies were brought over to help build the transcontinental railway linking the eastern and western states. Such vast numbers of Chinese immigrants kept coming that legislation barring Chinese from entry was passed by Congress in 1882. About sixty years later, during World War II, these laws were repealed, and the civil war in China leading to the Communist take-over in 1949 made new waves of Chinese immigrants seek refuge in the USA.

Two Kinds - audio

Two Kinds - audio

Two Kinds, Part One – plain text

Two Kinds, Part Two – plain text

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A nation of immigrants

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