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What is the point of view in the short story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan?

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talyder | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 12, 2011 at 7:12 AM via web

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What is the point of view in the short story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 12, 2011 at 7:42 PM (Answer #1)

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When we think of point of view and narration, there are three general types that are utilised in literature. The omniscient point of view is written in the third person, and is when the narrator assumes a kind of god-like role in that he or she is exterior to the action, yet is able to look down and enter the mind of every character and see their emotions and motives. The third person limited point of view is similar, but the narrator is only able to follow one character and enter one character's mind. Lastly, the first person narrator is when the narrator is one of the characters in the plot themselves, and we can only see everything from their perspective and see their thoughts and feelings as they are capable of perceiving them. This style of narration is identifiable through the use of the first person: "I" and "we."

With this in mind, let us examine this story and see which style of narration is used. Consider the following quote:

In all of my imaginings, I was filled with a sense that I would soon become perfect. My mother and father would adore me. I would be beyond reproach. I would never feel the need to sulk for anything.

Hopefully you have identified the use of the first person, "I." This clearly indicates that the point of view in this story is first person. Note the way that we are presented with Jing-Mei's feelings, emotions and hopes in this quote, told from her perspective. The use of the first person in this story thus helps us to relate and identify with the character of Jing-Mei herself as she struggles against the weight of her mother's ambition for her.

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