In "Two Kinds," can we compare the mother-daughter relationship with Chinese-American attitudes and culture?


Two Kinds

Asked on

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

I think there is a definite sense in which we can compare the mother with traditional Chinese values and the daughter, Jing-Mei, with American values and culture. Let us remember that the mother emmigrated from China and went to America, whereas Jing-Mei was born in America and thus finds so many aspects of her mother's culture foreign and strange. In the clash that we see between the mother and Jing-Mei, we see mirrored the clash of these two very different cultures. We can see this most clearly in the way that the mother places so much pressure on Jing-Mei to do well and to succeed, whereas Jing-Mei wants to live her own life. Note how Jing-Mei herself expresses her determination to live her life her way:

It was not the only disappointment my mother felt in me. In the years that followed, I failed her so many times, each time asserting my own will, my right to fall short of expectations. I didn't get straight A's. I didn't become class president. I didn't get into Stanford. I dropped out of college.

Clearly, Jing-Mei's assertion of her "own will," her "right to fall short of expectations" exemplifies the conflict between her and her mother and the two different systems of cultural values.


We’ve answered 397,056 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question