Two Kinds Essay

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Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton teaches American literature and writing classes at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and she writes frequently about the modern short story. In this essay she discusses power, matriarchy, and domestic space in "Two Kinds."

When Jing-mei's mother shouts at her daughter and demands her complete obedience toward the end of Tan's short story, "Two Kinds," she is defending her power over the only territory to which she can lay claim, the domestic sphere. Cut off from her native China by distance and political upheaval, yet distanced from surrounding American culture by language and other cultural barriers, the mother in the story makes a fortress of her home and uses it as a base of operations for deploying her matriarchal power over the life and destiny of her child.

Because her daughter has absorbed American ideas about individuality and self-determination, she has different expectations about gender...

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This section contains 1,657 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Two Kinds Study Guide
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Two Kinds from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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