Amy Tan

Amy Tan

  • Submitted By: nike
  • Date Submitted: 02/16/2009 10:40 PM
  • Category: Book Reports
  • Words: 1369
  • Page: 6
  • Views: 1162

The purpose of a dictatorship is to prevent the feared chaos associated with no system of regulation and rules. In her essay, “The Beavers Scale of Family Health and Competence,” Maggie Scarf explains how families turn into a totalitarian state to avoid anarchy. One of the family members becomes a dictator and controls the lives of the rest of the family, affecting them mentally and emotionally. Scarf categorizes the tyrant-like family as a level 4, “borderline polarized family.” Characteristically, this type of family is on the opposite spectrum of the chaotic and formless level 5 family. In Amy Tan’s narrative, “Two Kinds,” the family depicted follows the assumptions made by Scarf about level 4 families. The family composes of the oppressive mother, Mrs. Woo and the reluctant daughter, Jing-Mei. But towards the end of the story, the reader can see that the dictatorship over the family is only temporarily effective. Eventually, Jing-Mei will start to rebel against the oppressive system of rules. Most of the claims made by Scarf about level 4 families help explain the actions and motives behind Mrs. Woo and Jing-Mei.

Scarf claims in “The Beavers Scale of Family Health and Competence” that “the family despot has imposed his own ironclad expectations, rules, and regulations upon the group, and thus replaced potential disarray and confusion with a state of martial law” (AR 239). Scarf is trying to express that the tyrant in the family has set the rules of the house and everyone must follow them. This assertion is persuasive because these strict rules help the family avoid any possible attempt to be categorized as a level 5 family. The family dictator feels that if she imposes her stern system of order on the family, she saves them from being destroyed by chaos and disorder. Thus, the dictator is motivated to continue ruling the family with an iron fist.

Scarf’s assertion that “the family despot has imposed his own ironclad expectations, rules, and...

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