In the story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan, who died before the story begins?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan tells about Jing-mei and her mother's relationship, especially the mother's attempt to make Jing-mei into a prodigy and Jing-mei's refusal to cooperate. The story begins with some background about Jing-mei's mother, who isn't named in this story, but who is known as Suyuan Woo in other stories from The Joy Luck Club. The prologue to the story explains that Suyuan had come to America in 1949, escaping the Chinese Communist Revolution. Tan writes that Suyuan had lost "everything in China," including Suyuan's parents, her husband, and "two daughters, twin baby girls." Although the euphemism "losing" implies these people all died in China, there is no proof in the story that that is the case. The fact that Jing-mei's father is mentioned in the story indicates Suyuan remarried, probably meaning she was a widow. Later in the story, Jing-mei lashes out at her mother and says she wishes she were dead "like them," that is, like "the babies she had lost in China, the ones we never talked about." Although readers don't learn it in this story, the twin girls did not die. The mother abandoned them, hoping they would be found and cared for by someone else. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial