Themes and message

Change and acceptance

The theme of the short story “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan is change and eventual acceptance.

From the very beginning, Jing-mei appears stubborn and resistant to change: “I won’t let her change me, I promised myself. I won’t be what I’m not.” (p. 2, ll. 42-43). This suggests that she believes any sort of change to be bad, especially since she believes it is being forced on her. She is also resentful of her mother for not liking her for who she is and forcing her to change: “ ‘Why don’t you like me the way I am?’ I cried. ‘I’m not a genius!’ ” (p. 3, ll. 43-44). Her mother’s reply highlights the difference in outlook between the two of them on the topic of ‘change’: “ ‘Who ask you to be genius?’ she shouted. ‘Only ask you to be your best. For you sake. You think I want you to be genius? Hnnh! What for! Who ask you!’ ” (p. 3, ll....

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