Setting Cultural setting refers to the beliefs, the people’s

Setting refers to the time together with the place
that 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 presentation
of a short story/ events. (Rudzinski, 2007) In the short story “Two Kinds” by Amy
Tan, cultural setting is seen in so many scenes: first and foremost, the belief
of the narrator’s mother that the daughter is a prodigy child, the people’s opinions
especially on how the narrator performed, the religious setting is also part of
the cultural setting.

Starting with the beliefs of the mother to her daughter,
the mother believes that her daughter can achieve anything in America if she
works hard. In the opening paragraph we can clearly see the mother telling her
daughter, “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 they
were watching Shirley’s old movies, she could keep on poking the narrator’s arm
while instructing her to emulate that with or without talent. We can easily see
that even though the mother was just working in the people’s houses, she could
sacrifice for her daughter the last coins she could earn from that job. She
took her daughter to beauty training school. We also see the mother having a
lot of magazines from the houses she washed and she would subject her daughter
to different tests at night especially after dinner. All this were just meant
for the daughter to realize the prodigy in her. We can clearly see evidently
that the mother had her last sacrifice when she asked the narrator to start
piano classes with Mr. Chong. She wanted her daughter to keep the spirit and
sacrifice to learn on how to play the piano. (Tan, 2017)

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The people’s opinions can be another factor in the cultural
setting that can easily affect the actions of the characters. We clearly see
this when Jing-Mei was playing Piano in the church hall where there was an
organized talent show. The narrator played, “Pleading Child.” The mother had
invited a whole lot of the couples in the social club. All the relatives were
present. Auntie Lindo, Waverly together with her two older brothers. Uncle Tin
was also present in the show. After the worst performance at the show, the
audience clapping weakly indicated that it was not a nice presentation. The
narrator 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 her
opinion to the performance of the narrator. All the above opinions led the
narrator to remain rude and stand for her own decisions. When her mother tells
her to turn off the TV and go for the Piano lessons, she instead stands up and
says that she cannot be her mother’s slave anymore.

Religion is defined as the group of beliefs about the
cause, the nature together with the reason of the universe especially that
including a moral value leading the people’s undertakings. (BBC, 2014).
Religion in the “Two Kinds” is evident whereby the mother expected the narrator
to be obedient to her always. She expected her daughter to obey the religious
rules since religion has it that children should obey their parents. Religion
determines the narrator’s actions since at first she obeyed and followed what
her mother was saying. We can see her taking the piano lessons. She also
accepts at first to be taking the tests that her mother was subjecting to her
after dinner. Later on we see her remaining adamant that she won’t be taking
the lessons anymore. She reacts by saying that it is her mother who is stupid.

Surely, cultural setting can affect the actions of the
characters. The narrator was purely affected by the culture setting. She was
affected 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 her
daughter could become anything she dreamt of given the fact that they had
relocated to in San Francisco in America in 1949. The ideas here continued
where we took a look at the opinions of the people surrounding the narrator and
finally the religious setting in the short story.