Two Kinds

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Sonam Shankar
ID# 1723801
English 103-276
January 17, 2011-01-17
Two Kinds
Amy Tan

In the short story “Two Kinds”, Amy Tan uses the narrator’s point of view to share a mother's attempt to control her daughter's dreams and ambitions. Tan`s short story is an example of how differing personalities cause struggles between a parent and child. Children often fall victim to a parent trying too hard or expectations being too high, and in the case of "Two Kinds," we see Jing Mei’s mother trying to live her life through that of Jing Mei. The outcome of her mother’s actions soon leads the narrator into feeling tension within herself, and between herself and her mother.

In the beginning, we find Jing-Mei’s mother convincing her that she “can be prodigy…” (Tan 346) and that she “can be best anything.” (Tan 346). The way in which her mother portrays becoming a prodigy as such a wonderful thing for their family, Jing Mei quickly falls into her trap. At first Jing-Mei is, “just as excited as my mother, maybe even more so.” (Tan 347). The fact that Jing Mei is feeling “just as excited as her mother”; allows her mother to have a better opportunity to create the ideal identity for her daughter. At first Jing Mei is very willing to cooperate in what her mother wants her to do, but soon it gets too much for her to handle. The expectations get higher, and Jing Mei becomes resentful and unwilling. This is a very crucial point in the story because this is when Jing Mei figures out that it’s her life, and not her mothers. She thinks to herself, “I won’t be what I’m not.” (Tan 348).

Even though Jing Mei begins to rebel against her mother’s wishes, this doesn’t change the fact that her mother keeps on pushing her to become something’s she is not. This is when the piano gets introduced into the story. Jing Mei’s mother gives all her time and effort into being able to provide for her daughter. She exchanges cleaning services in return for piano lessons, so that hopefully her...
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