Multicultural Story, Two Kinds Amy Tan-JHedit

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Multicultural Story: Two Kinds by Amy Tan :

Multicultural Story: Two Kinds by Amy Tan Lina Alfaro, Timothy Cobern , Jerardo Hernandez, Jacinda Higgins, Kevin Nelson, and Brenda Nievas EESL 536: Crosscultural Teaching CSUSB MA-Education/TESOL Instructor : Dr . Kathryn Howard September 6, 2016

Author Introduction:

Author Introduction Two Kinds by Amy Tan Amy Tan is an American born Chinese that grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Two Kinds is an excerpt from her first book, The Joy Luck Club, which received high acclaim. Amy has been a prolific writer who has written many stories centered around the conflicts of American born Chinese with their parents who were from China or other Chinese areas.

Story Overview:

Story Overview This is the story of an immigrant Chinese mother and her first generation American Chinese daughter Jing-Mei. The mother immigrated to the U.S under difficult circumstances. She is a true believer of the “American Dream”, that with hard work and determination, you can be anything you want. Based on this belief, the mother pushes her daughter into different activities hoping that an unnoticed talent will be revealed. Jing- M ei is compliant at first but soon begins to resent her mother for forcing her to be something she is not. Generational expectations as well as cultural differences create tensions between mother and daughter.

Geography, History, and Cultural Setting:

Geography, History, and Cultural Setting The mother immigrated from China , coming over sometime around the time the Communist Party took over China. She had lost her family, as well as a few children, because of the revolution. She came to San Francisco with a heavy heart and married again, presumably to a Chinese man who had likewise fled China.

Geography, History, and Cultural Setting:

Geography, History, and Cultural Setting Jing-Mei, the main character, grew up in America as an American born Chinese. Growing up in San Francisco's Chinatown , traditional Chinese cultural pressures weighed heavy upon her . She is expected to be an obedient daughter, who is motivated and successful.

Values, Beliefs, and Ideologies:

Values, Beliefs, and Ideologies Face is a heavy issue in the story. Simply put, it is how one perceives how others perceive them. In one example, at the piano concert, some parents deliberately went out of their way to tell Jing-Mei's parents how well their own children did, as a means of saying, "Your daughter sucks." We see other instances in the story where that happens. Because of Jing-Mei’s act of rebellion, the parents lost face.

Values, Beliefs, and Ideologies:

Values, Beliefs, and Ideologies The Chinese have always believed their future depends upon their children's success. That was always their "social security" for when they get older. Jing-Mei, on the other hand, attended a primary school where American cultural influence, particularly self-reliance and independence, was emphasized. We see that in the way Jing-Mei became defiant against her parent's wishes in ways Chinese children almost never do in China. An example of this can be seen when Jing-Mei refuses to go to her piano lesson. Her mother reacts by stating " Only two kinds of daughters," she shouted in Chinese ." Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind ! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!"

Cultural Practices:

Cultural Practices To some extent, the mother adopts some American values. She constantly tells her daughter a typical American belief that one can be “… anything you wanted to be in America.” However, to an even larger extent, her values and ways of doing things are completely Chinese. Just like most Chinese mothers, she tries to form her daughter into a “proper Chinese girl” who will obey whatever the mother says.

Cultural Practices:

Cultural Practices Only until the worst clash occurred between the mother and her daughter after a piano recital, does the mother unwillingly realize that she has to let her daughter be one of the American daughters who “follow their own mind”. In China, the authoritative role of a mother over her daughter is seldom questioned.

Discussion Questions:

Discussion Questions What are some problems the first American born generations face as they are “Americanized”? How did the idea of the “American Dream” that the mother has, affect the relationship between the mother with her daughter?

Intercultural Concepts:

Intercultural Concepts The following concept has been selected from Chapter 3: History, Power and Globalization. There is a paradigm shift , which is defined as “A different way of seeing [. . .] new way of seeing then rearranges you on the inside and gives you a different ground from which to interpret your reality” ( Sorrells & Sekimoto, 2016, p. 47). This is a powerful concept used to bring awareness into a person’s life by shifting their perspective of reality. Jing-Mei clearly illustrates a paradigm shift when after several failed attempts at pleasing her mother she decides she will no longer try to be something that she isn’t. “And then I saw what seemed to be the prodigy side of me - a face I had never seen before. I looked at my reflection, blinking so that I could see more clearly. The girl staring back at me was angry, powerful. She and I were the same. I had new thoughts, willful thoughts - or rather, thoughts filled with lots of won'ts . I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not .” She has moved beyond her Chinese cultural identity of the obedient daughter. The interpretation of her reality is now more Americanized. She wants to free herself from her mother’s rule and be her own person.

Intercultural Concepts:

Intercultural Concepts Generational Shift There is a strong disconnect between the immigrant mother and her Chinese-American daughter. The mother expects her daughter to take advantage of every opportunity to find fame and success. This reflects her own expectations of what it is to be an American. From the mother’s perspective, Jing-Mei just isn’t trying hard enough because people who work hard in America succeed. The mothers expectations of her daughter also come from her Chinese cultural roots of children being obedient to their parents. Jing-Mei’s definition of what it is to be American is different because of her exposure to American culture in school that emphasizes independence and individuality. She wants her mother to accept her as she is. She ultimately becomes rebellious when she can’t satisfy her mothers expectations of her. Jing-Mei differs from her mothers expectations of what it is to be an American as well as who has the right to tell you how to live your life.

Lesson Plan:

Lesson Plan Read the story Two Kinds by Amy Tan. In small groups answer the questions from this graphic organizer. Retrieved from https:// /2008/03/31/teaching-two-kinds/


Amy Tan


References Michaelsen , A. (2008), Teaching two kinds by Amy Tan , Retrieved from https:// /2008/03/31/teaching-two-kinds/ Sekimoto, S., Sorrells , K., (2016), Globalizing international communication: A reader, Los Angeles: Sage Tan, A. Two kinds, (1989), New York: Putman Publishing

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