Amy Tan, a well-knownChinese American writer, who has written numerous best-selling books for decades such as “Joy Luck Club,” exemplifies the traditional Chinese idea about America being the land of opportunity in the book, “Two Kinds.” …
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and her two daughters. The story is centered on one major conflict, which is the battle between the two contrary beliefs and ideas of Jing and her mother. Jing had a very different way of thinking compared to her daughter, causing arguments and problems throughout the plot of the whole story. The story begins with Jing Mei presenting the two opposite cultures that she has to live with. The first is the Chinese culture, the one that is in her blood. This culture’s point of view about America is similar to that of the rest of the world. They believe that America is the land that promises and assures immediate success and a hope to a better future and standard of living. It was a land filled with opportunities. Because of this point of view, Jing’s mother fervently and with determination pushes her daughter to do everything possible in order to gain success and fame to the point where she wanted Jing to follow the footsteps of then child superstar, Shirley Temple. Jing narrates, “At first my mother thought I could be a Chinese Shirley Temple. We’d watch her old movies and I would see Shirley tapping her feet or pursing her lips while saying “Oh, my goodness.” My mother even took me to a beauty salon, but instead of getting curls, I emerged with a mess.” She kept pushing her, letting her do all sorts of tests to determine her one special talent that she can gain fame and fortune from, since she believed that if you are in America, then there is no limit to who you can be and to what you can do. Jing explains, “My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America. You could open a restaurant. You could become rich. You could become instantly famous.” The second way of life that Jing Mei is surrounded with all the time is the adapted culture, the one surrounding her every day, the American culture. This culture did not always match to that of the Chinese, and because of that, it caused conflict, which would later be evident in the story. The Chinese viewpoint and perspective of life and of America was clearly seen and represented by the words and the actions of Jing’s mother. This culture has definitely been the heart of why almost all of the Chinese people in the late 1940s dreamed and longed to leave their homeland which was at that time, suffering from the grave devastation of the war against Japan. Living in China before the war was already hard. It was a very poor country, and the Japanese war that sprung made it harder. During the Chinese Japanese war, the people really felt overwhelmed by the tough situation and the circumstances that they faced and lived through. About four million of innocent Chinese civilians were murdered. The Japanese military also conducted various experimentations on the civilians, from women, men, children to infants as well such as performing vivisection without anesthesia. The people died in the streets from starvation and from the cold. The parents had no choice but to sell their children because there was no more food to eat. Numerous Chinese women were raped and sexually harassed by the Japanese military every day, including sixty-year-old women. Forced labor was imposed on innocent people who did nothing wrong. Thousands upon thousands of blameless citizens, even including little children and infants suffered and died. The
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