External conflict in “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan
The short story “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan is about Jing-Mei, a girl who couldn’t please her mother’s desire of being a prodigy. Jing-Mei completed many of the tasks that her mother wanted her to in order to find what she could be a prodigy in. After Jing-Mei begins to take piano lessons like her mother asked, she and her mother have several confrontations due to the fact that Jing-Mei didn’t share her mother’s desire of being a prodigy. Her mother wanted Jing-Mie to make her feel proud of having a prodigy daughter after her dead babies didn’t get that same opportunity. Amy Tan used external conflict to display the fundamental truth that parents can’t control their kids but only guide them by showing Jing-Mei’s insecurity, low self esteem and frustration. Jing-Mei’s insecurity is the highlight of the external conflict in the story. Jing- Mei is not the kind of daughter her mother wants, instead she follows her mind to thinking she is not a prodigy kind and disobeys her mother’s desires. Jing-Mei narrates “I won’t let her change me, I promised myself. I won’t be what I’m not.” Jing-Mei is not trying hard to accomplish the ‘American Dream’ which is what her mother wants for her. Jing- Mei is completely insecure of herself and her capability of growing up to be someone in life. Jing-Mei narrates “ So now when my mother presents with her test, I performed listlessly, my head propped on one arm.” Jing-Mei never listened to her mother when she was told to put effort into being a prodigy, she simply showed to be uninterested. Jing-Mei was never secure to be a prodigy material, she was insecure of her own capability which resulted in external conflict with her mother. Jing-Mei’s low self esteem shows that she doesn’t believe that she will reach her mother’s dream of being a good pianist which creates external conflict. Jing-Mei has the absurd idea that her mother doesn’t like her and that she is only trying to make her be...
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