Setting refers to the time together with the placethat the events of the story took place. Cultural setting refers to the beliefs,the people’s opinions not to forget the religious features in the presentationof a short story/ events. (Rudzinski, 2007) In the short story “Two Kinds” by AmyTan, cultural setting is seen in so many scenes: first and foremost, the beliefof the narrator’s mother that the daughter is a prodigy child, the people’s opinionsespecially on how the narrator performed, the religious setting is also part ofthe cultural setting. Starting with the beliefs of the mother to her daughter,the mother believes that her daughter can achieve anything in America if sheworks hard. In the opening paragraph we can clearly see the mother telling herdaughter, “You can be prodigy too.” She added that, “You can be best anything.
“This belief is also defining the actions of the narrator’s mother. While theywere watching Shirley’s old movies, she could keep on poking the narrator’s armwhile instructing her to emulate that with or without talent. We can easily seethat even though the mother was just working in the people’s houses, she couldsacrifice for her daughter the last coins she could earn from that job. Shetook her daughter to beauty training school. We also see the mother having alot of magazines from the houses she washed and she would subject her daughterto different tests at night especially after dinner. All this were just meantfor the daughter to realize the prodigy in her.
We can clearly see evidentlythat the mother had her last sacrifice when she asked the narrator to startpiano classes with Mr. Chong. She wanted her daughter to keep the spirit andsacrifice to learn on how to play the piano. (Tan, 2017)The people’s opinions can be another factor in the culturalsetting that can easily affect the actions of the characters. We clearly seethis when Jing-Mei was playing Piano in the church hall where there was anorganized talent show. The narrator played, “Pleading Child.” The mother hadinvited a whole lot of the couples in the social club.
All the relatives werepresent. Auntie Lindo, Waverly together with her two older brothers. Uncle Tinwas also present in the show.
After the worst performance at the show, theaudience clapping weakly indicated that it was not a nice presentation. Thenarrator openly heard a small boy say to his mother that the presentation was terrible.”That was awful.” He said to his mother. Auntie Lindo praised the other kids’performance while saying that, “That was something else.
” This actually was heropinion to the performance of the narrator. All the above opinions led thenarrator to remain rude and stand for her own decisions. When her mother tellsher to turn off the TV and go for the Piano lessons, she instead stands up andsays that she cannot be her mother’s slave anymore. Religion is defined as the group of beliefs about thecause, the nature together with the reason of the universe especially thatincluding a moral value leading the people’s undertakings. (BBC, 2014).Religion in the “Two Kinds” is evident whereby the mother expected the narratorto be obedient to her always. She expected her daughter to obey the religiousrules since religion has it that children should obey their parents. Religiondetermines the narrator’s actions since at first she obeyed and followed whather mother was saying.
We can see her taking the piano lessons. She alsoaccepts at first to be taking the tests that her mother was subjecting to herafter dinner. Later on we see her remaining adamant that she won’t be takingthe lessons anymore.
She reacts by saying that it is her mother who is stupid.Surely, cultural setting can affect the actions of thecharacters. The narrator was purely affected by the culture setting. She wasaffected by what the people surrounding her had to say about her performance,she was also affected by the beliefs of her mother. The mother thought herdaughter could become anything she dreamt of given the fact that they hadrelocated to in San Francisco in America in 1949. The ideas here continuedwhere we took a look at the opinions of the people surrounding the narrator andfinally the religious setting in the short story.