Senin, 15 Desember 2008

Is Amy Tan Westerner or Easterner?

Is Amy Tan Easterner or Westerner?
A Critical Analysis on the Clash of Cultural Values in “Two Kinds”

Asih Sigit Padmanugraha
Yogyakarta State University


In the beginning of the twenty-first century, students of American universities and even high schools faced syllabus that contained so various sources written by diverse ethnic writers they never read or heard before. Evidently, they learn more than what their parents have learnt about American writings: the American ethnic literature. It plays important role in validating American writings and help America redefine its identity.
Amy Tan is one of the most notable figures in ethnic literature. With her first novel The Joy Luck Club (1989), she is so prominent that she becomes “a household name.” Beside receiving awards and being translated into several languages including Chinese, it was criticized and reviewed as intensely poetic, startlingly imaginative and moving, charming and striking in the sharpness of observation, and memorable for its universal themes.
Obviously, her works are acceptable and inspiring to Western and Eastern readers. Yet, what aspects both are interested in are of course different. The differences are undoubtedly shown in “Two Kinds,” the fourth part of The Joy Luck Club. The Chinese American characters in the text talk in two voices and live in two different cultures and worlds. Like thousands of Asian American people, Tan spent her childhood trying to comprehend, realize, reconcile, contradict between her ethnicity and western values, which is so dominant in America, where she grew and was educated. Therefore, this paper will question whether Amy Tan believes more on Eastern or Western value, and it will analyze critically the clash of cultural values in Amy Tan’s worlds through her “Two Kinds.”
Key Words: Amy Tan, “Two Kinds”, clash of cultural values, Eastern and Western cultures

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