The Conflict of Generations in “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan

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The conflict of generations is an eternal problem of humankind; when parents reproach children for disobedience, and in response, they hear only reproaches about a misunderstanding. The main problem is people’s worldviews, different upbringing, and other times. Cultural values and traditions, family customs and rituals, and the inevitable conflict of generations are some of the central themes in Amy Tan’s work. In her story titled “Two Kinds,” the writer focuses on the confrontation between mother and daughter from the point of view of the expectations, worldviews on life, dialogue of cultures, and the problems of immigrants in America. She most often comprehends the current reality through the prism of cultural processes and the consequences of migration for representatives of a particular nation. “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan is a unique, profound, and extraordinary work that thoroughly reveals the issue of entirely different generations and ages. An American writer of Chinese origin has introduced new accents and interpretations in understanding family disagreements. The story’s heroines are marked by a dual desire to preserve the connection of generations and the understanding that alienation is inevitable. The search for national identity provides a specific lever of pressure on forming more and more new misunderstandings between the two heroines. In addition, several conflicts often occur between the two women based on mental abilities and capabilities. For example, when the daughter could not answer her mother’s question about the capital in Finland, it upset the woman, but even more, so the little girl, giving rise to complexes and doubts (Tan 134). An attentive reader will note that in this case, not only the dynamics of generations can be traced, but also life situations, unrealized career goals, and “sacrifice” for the role of a “caring” mother (Hasseldine). Moreover, it is also possible to note parental education and training problems in the text. One should mention that a child prodigy is not always just a set of positive advantages because sometimes such a child can bring a lot of trouble (Gracias). In addition, any child, normal, child prodigy, or their “antipode” needs care and support, which the mother cannot fully realize (Gracias). It is important to remember that disagreements between mother and daughter, as between two feminine beginnings, are an “ordinary” procedure in nature. Hormones, different temperaments, and character traits are the primary sources of “competition” development (Hasseldine). Nonetheless, it is social expectations often provoke the development of difficulties and conflicts in the relationship between mother and daughter (Hasseldine). In addition, the education of a child prodigy, as a rule, involves elements of dedication and a competent approach to the child (Gracias). In the absence of these elements, the risk of misconceptions and misunderstandings is likely. In conclusion, the conflict of generations in the work “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan is presented as a clash of traditional Chinese culture with the values of modern American society, as well as different views on life and expectations from the child, which the mother could not realize. Belonging to other historical and cultural eras, different attitudes to traditions hinder mutual understanding in the family. In particular, the abundance of parallelisms, symbols, comparisons, and folklore images in the texts emphasize the gap between mothers and daughters. The writer’s work fits into US literature’s multinational and multicultural context, with its characteristic artistic imagery and symbolic construction of works.

Works Cited

Gracias, Amrita. “What Makes a Child Prodigy.” ParentCircle.

Hasseldine, Rosjke. “Uncovering The Root Cause of Mother-Daughter Conflict.” American Counseling Association, 2020.

Tan, Amy. “Two Kinds.” The Joy Luck Club, edited by Amy Tan, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1989, pp. 132-144.

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Premium Papers. "The Conflict of Generations in “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan." March 14, 2023.