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The work of rising star Amy Tan, “Two Kinds” delves deep into the conflict between mother and daughter. “Two Kinds” profoundly explores the friction amid a first-generation Chinese immigrant mother with lofty expectations and an underachieving second-generation daughter battling with her identity. Cultures and egos collide in this landmark short story. Amy Tan’s knack for dialogue and storytelling generates such an astonishing amount of realism readers will not believe that it’s fiction. “Two Kinds” generates laughs and wrenches hearts for an effect unmatched by peers. This modern classic is a must read.
Amy Tan’s short story “Two Kinds,” set in the 1980’s, illustrates a mother’s belief that you can become anything you want to be in America. Ni kan’s mother encourages her to become a prodigy. She first decides Ni kan should be a Chinese Shirley Temple. Then it is a childhood genius, practicing the capitals of all the states each night at the dinner table. One night after memorizing passages from the Bible, Ni kan looks into a mirror and decides her view on all of this; she hates all of it. She promises herself that she won’t be what she is not. But her mother does not give up. After watching
The Ed Sullivan Show
, her mother now decides it’s time for her daughter to learn to play the piano. Bargaining house cleaning with piano lessons, Ni kan will now have weekly lessons with neighbor, Mr. Chong, and a piano to practice on every day for two hours. After a year, it’s time for her to compete in a talent show. Ni kan is determined to make her mother proud, but will she be able to endure the nerves of performance?
Movie Trailer by Megan Wallingford and Tim Olsen
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