52 pages 1 hour read

Amy Tan

Two Kinds

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1989

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“Two Kinds”

  • Genre: Fiction; realistic short story
  • Originally Published: 1989
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 880L; grades 7-12
  • Structure/Length: Approx. 12 pages; approx. 15 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: This is one of 16 linked stories in the author’s collection The Joy Luck Club; each story features first- and second-generation Chinese immigrants in the Chinatown neighborhood of San Francisco. “Two Kinds” explores the battle of wills between young Jing-mei Woo and her mother, a stern woman who believes Jing-mei to be a prodigy.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Racially charged language; disobedience toward parents; immigration; assimilation

Amy Tan, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1952 in Oakland, California; frequently moved while growing up; attended several colleges, eventually earning a master’s degree in linguistics; worked as a language development specialist; turned to fiction writing to balance freelance jobs; short stories attracted the attention of a literary agent and potential publishers; earned fame with the publication of The Joy Luck Club; served as a lecturer, TED Talk presenter, Sesame Street guest, and Rock Bottom Remainders band member
  • Other Works: The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991); The Hundred Secret Senses (1995); The Bonesetter’s Daughter (2001); Saving Fish from Drowning (2005); The Valley of Amazement (2013)
  • Awards: National Book Award (Finalist; The Joy Luck Club; 1989)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit: