In David Mamets essay The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood and Amy
Tans story Jing-Mei Woo: Two Kinds, the authors describe their personal
experiences. The essay and story are based upon the authors childhood
memories. There are many similarities and differences in Mamets and Tans
works. Both authors describe a childhood conflict; however, Mamet does not
resolve his conflict whereas Tan does resolve it. The conflict between Tan and
her mother occurs because her mother pressures her into being a prodigy, and Tan
cannot do that. When Tan rebels against her mother, Tans mother says, Only
one kind of daughter can live in this house! Obedient daughter! This proves
that Tans mother is concerned with her daughters obedience toward her. It
is impossible, however, for Tan to become a prodigy. Tan is frustrated because
she cannot live up to her mothers standards and she disobeys her mothers
wishes because they are unachievable. Mamet and his sister conflict with their
parents as well, because of an abusive relationship within the family. Mamets
mother, like Tans mother, does not want her daughter to rebel. For example,
when Mamets sister does not eat dinner, the mother prohibits her from
performing in her school play. Mamets sister is not hungry because she is
nervous, and her mother punishes her severely for something that is
uncontrollable. This unfair treatment is similar to Tans because both Tan and
Mamets sister are unable to fulfill their parents standards. Although the
conflict and parents responses are similar, Mamet responds to his childhood
in a different manner from Tan. Mamet learns from his abusive childhood that it
is acceptable to use violence toward women. When Mamets sister says something
that makes him angry he throws a rake at her face and severely hurts her. There
is no resolution to Mamets conflict because Mamet leaves the house without
making up with his family; instead of resolving his conflict, Mamet escapes from
it. In contrast, Tan does resolve the conflict with her mother. Her mother
offers her the piano when she becomes an adult, and she describes it as a shiny
trophy she won back. Tan also has the piano tuned and reconditioned, and even
tries to play it again. The piano is a symbol for her childhood, and when she
restores the piano, she overcomes her childhood conflict with her mother. The
song that Tan uses to symbolize her adult life, Perfectly Contented, is
evidence that Tan settles the conflict with her mother. It proves that Tan does
not blame her mother; rather, Tan forgives her mother for the childhood conflict
Tan dealt with. Mamet and Tan describe their childhoods similarly, because they
have similar disagreements with their parents. However, the major difference
between the two authors is the way they grow out of their childhood conflicts.

Mamet does not resolve the conflict with his family with his family whereas Tan
makes up with her mother in the end. Whether or not a person settles a conflict
is not reliant on the nature of the conflict itself. Resolution depends on the
personalities and morals of the people involved.

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English Essays