Structure

Title

The title of the short story “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan is a reference to Jing-mei’s mother’s perception on how her daughter should be: “ ‘Only two kinds of daughters’, she shouted in Chinese. ‘Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!’ ”. We also understand that Jing-mei’s mother has no wish to compromise and will only accept her idea of who Jing-mei is supposed to be.

The title also suggests Jing-mei’s conflict between meeting her mother’s expectations and ignoring her mother’s instructions: “ ‘You want me to be something I’m not!’ I sobbed. ‘I’ll never be the kind of daughter you want me to be!’ “ However, the final scene of the story suggests that the two “kinds” are actually part of the same “whole”: a now mature Jing-mei. Her realization that the two piano pieces are two halves of the same whole also points to her acceptance of everything she has struggled with so far. It al...

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