contrast and compare

Comparison of Two Works of Literature by Amy Tan and Zora Neale

Even if they were written by two different writers and set in different contexts, the two works of literature by Amy Tan and Zora Neale may share various principles. The elements that exist in both novels behave as though they are carbon copies of one another.

June's Disappointment and Superstitious Beliefs

June bangles the piano in a horrible way in the hopes that she may not proceed with the lessons, but when she learns that this will not be the case, she becomes disappointed and wishes she were dead. Suyuan becomes embroiled in the superstition that June cannot do better because she abandoned the twins in China at this stage. The result of her action was the reason for their death. This makes her suffer psychological torture due to such superstitious beliefs. Also, Matty Redding has the superstitious belief that her son is suffering from a traveling curse. However, Matty feels that the curse upon her son John Redding is as a result of her marriage to John’s father and not the rival suitor she was meant to marry.

Deprivation of Self-Determination

John Redding in John Redding Goes to Sea has a deep urge to travel and see the world but his mother Matty Redding feels otherwise. Her mother does not want him to leave to the extent of staging tantrums when he finally got the chance to join the army. In this manner, he is not in the position to do his will of getting what he wants in life since his mother dictates everything he does. In the same context, the Two Kinds by Amy Tan perpetuates the same conditions since June does not do what he feels is right and what he enjoys doing in his life. This is because her mother Suyuan dictates everything she does. She is forced to take piano lessons, yet she hates it and knows she is not good at it.

Aspects of Death

Both stories allude to death scenes. In the Two Kinds by Amy Tan, Suyuan thinks of the passing of the twins she was forced to leave in China when June tells her that she wishes she were dead. In the same instance, in John Redding Goes to Sea, John dies when he is working at a bridge construction site. In both cases, there is pain since when John dies, her mother is grieving for her loss and when Suyuan remembers the death of the twin children, she feels sad for leaving them in China.


In the story Two Kinds by Amy Tan, Suyuan is interested in making June an academic giant by taking her through geography and mathematics whereas she does not love the two subjects and is not determined to excel in them as her mother wants her to. Also, her mother forces her to take piano lessons, yet she has no interest in knowing how to play the piano. The two cause conflicting interests, making them disagree. In the same context, John Redding Goes to Sea by Zora Neale, John is interested in joining the army, but his wife and mother have varying interests and want him to stay. On the same note, John is interested in traveling and seeing the world, but his mother feels otherwise.


In both stories, there are instances that are either inconvenient to the main cast or someone directly connected to the main cast. In the story Two Kinds by Amy Tan, Suyuan feels relieved that she found a place for her daughter to attend piano lessons. However, the piano tutor is deaf, and this inconveniences June as she does not understand what the teacher teaches her due to her deaf condition. In John Redding Goes to Sea by Zora Neale, Matty Redding is finally at peace that John is working and will neither be traveling to see the world nor join the army. However, he is involved in an accident that leads to his death.



In John Redding Goes to Sea by Zora Neale; there is the death of the primary cast who is John Redding towards the end of the story. This is the point that the author uses to conclude the story by taking away the principal cast. However, in the story Two Kinds by Amy Tan, Suyuan who is June’s mother only thinks of the death of the twins she was forced to leave in China, but we are not given a detailed explanation of the events behind their deaths. This makes the two novels differ.


In the story, John Redding Goes to Sea by Zora Neale, the author talks about the theme of marriage on several instances. First, there is the instance where Matty Redding feels sad that her son has to suffer the traveling curse which came about due to her fault. She refused to marry the rival suitor and instead married John's father. The second part is when the author talks about the marriage between Matty and her husband who happens to be John's dad. The last part where marriage is mentioned is that of the marriage between John Redding and his wife. On the other hand, the story Two Kinds by Amy Tan does not talk about any instances of marriage but just the fact that Suyuan is June’s mother.

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