Comparison Of Short Stories Essay, Research Paper
The stories “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan and “Teenage Wasteland” by Anne Tyler have
many similarities, yet are different in many ways. Both of these stories contain a conflict
between parental figures and their children. The conflict in “Teenage Wasteland”
involves Donny and his two parents, Daisy and Matt. They want Donny to succeed in
school, both gradewise and socially. Donny, on the other hand, has a hard time in school
whether it be because he doesn’t fit in or because he doesn’t apply himself. Donny’s
parents want him to be the average “all American” kid and they try their best to get
Donny to fit into this groove. Donny’s parents even go as far as hiring a tutor for him
three times a week to help Donny get back on track.
Nikan has a similar situation in “Two Kinds” where a mother expects her
daughter to fit a certain type a person that she doesn’t want to be. Nikan mother wants
her to have some special talent that sets her apart from other kids her age. Nikan on the
other hand just wants to be herself and nothing more. Trying to act like a child prodigy
or a pianist just didn’t appeal to Nikan. Her mom was persistent though in trying to
conform her daughter into both of these things.
These two stories are also similar in that they both contain disappointments. This
disappointment in “Teenage Wasteland” by Donny is when he runs away at the end of the
story. His parents tried and tried to help Donny and provide as much as they could for
him only to find out that he ran away and most likely will not come back. Donny’s mom
and dad are involved in Donny’s life as much as they can, only to have their son fail in
the end. With Donny seeing Cal regularly, his parents though he was improving, but in
reality, he wasn’t getting much help from Cal. He was basically just having a good time
three times a week with no parental supervision. Cal was, for the most part, just a good
friend to Donny and was someone whom with Donny have fun with. This ultimately led
to both parents being disappointed in Donny after he leaves home. The same kind of
disappointment was experienced by Nikan’s mom by her daughter. Nikan’s mom spent a
lot of time and work trying to get her to learn how to play the piano. Her mom though
that Nikan was doing great with the piano. She was practicing everyday and soon she
was to be in a talent show. Her mom was looking forward to the show so she would have
something to brag about to her friends. Unfortunately, Nikan really blew the talent show.
For some reason she though she was magically going to perform flawlessly when called
on at the show but she did just the opposite. Nikan’s mom was extremely disappointed.
Like Donny’s parents, she had put a lot of time and effort into something that she thought
would help her child, only to be let down by her daughter.
Another similarity between “Two Kinds” and “Teenage Wasteland” are the two
kids, Nikan and Donny, respect towards their parents. The both show very little respect
to them. The situation at the end of “Two Kinds” where Nikan says that she wished that
her wasn’t her mother’s daughter and furthermore wishes that she was never born like
her other sisters was extremely disrespectful. A child should never talk in that manner to
their parents no matter how upset. This was a turning point in both of their lives. The
mother, being astounded at what her daughter said looks at her as a different person from
then on, and it seemed harder for Nikan to talk face to face with her mother from then on.
Donny, in “Teenage Wasteland” shows complete disrespect for his parents throughout
the story. His parents are doing all they can to try and help Donny, but he never puts
forth the effort to help himself. He was getting into trouble as school, barely getting
passing grades, and skipping school. When his parents asked him about where he was
going, Donny got an attitude. Even after Donny’s parents paid for a tutor, Donny still
would not tell them what was going on in his life or even how we was doing in school.
This information was always given to them by the school faculty. His parents had to be
embarrassed in front of teachers and the principle many times. This seems very
disrespectful on Donny’s part for them to have to meet with the school to discuss his
misbehavior. Both Donny and Nikan caused a tremendous amount of pain a suffering in
their parent’s lives. They were both disrespectful and unthankful towards their parents.