Two Kinds by Amy Tan

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“Two Kinds” By Amy Tan is a heartbreaking story, it’s a powerful example of conflicting personalities and needs that cause a struggle between parent and child. In every family, parents have, at one point, imposed their failures and expectations on their children and in worse cases have even tried to live through their children. At times, it can be in the best interest of the child to have a parent motivate them in a specific direction, but as in this story it can sometimes backfire, and the child can be left with feelings of disapproval and questions of self-worth. Instead of enforcing these standards parents should let their children be individuals, and have them learn through their own conscious decisions, and only interfere when the child is headed in the wrong direction. Of course, family values and morals should be taught to a child at a young age to prevent any disastrous situations, and help the child determine between right and wrong. “Two Kinds” is a first person narrative. Jing Mei is the main character. The story is solely from her point of view for what she thinks and does and what takes place where, and how. Jing Mei does not know what her mother thinks. But she gives a clear description of what her mother does, how she does, it but not why she does it. You can tell she is a very young character and does not realize that her mother has very good intension for her and only wants the best for her. For example, her mother traded housecleaning services for weekly lessons and a piano for Jing to practice on every day, two hours a day, from four until six. Jing was so ungrateful that on her way to practice she kicked and screamed all the way there, shouting that she was not a genius. Her mother slapped her, “Who asked you to be a genius? “She shouted. “Only asked you to be your best,”(Tan 2) but Jing Mei was so stubborn that she didn’t want to do anything her mother asked of her, she was so convinced her mother was trying to control her life. “Two Kinds” is the best title for this short story, simply because in this story the little Chinese-American girl is locked in a struggle over her identity with the Chinese immigrant mother, who believes “ that you could be anything you wanted to be in America,”(Tan 1). The mother attempts to mold her daughter, Jing-mei, into a musical prodigy so that she will be able to brag to her friends. Her mother gets ideas for piano lessons from television and popular magazines that she retrieves from cleaning houses. The girl and her mother watch Shirley Temple movies and try to imagine her being a famous child star. They even go as far as to get her hair premed to look like the blond, curly haired Shirly Temple. This comes out a disaster and she has to cut her hair into a peter pan style. As shown she was willing to do whatever to help her child become a prodigy. It’s evident in the story that the mother is convinced that this move to America will better her family, and that her daughter will live a better life than she did. She does not want her daughter cleaning houses and struggling. The mother and the father do all they can do to help her better herself but the young stubborn Chinese-American girl has her own agenda and will not let her mom control her life. That goes back to the title “Two Kinds”. In the story her mother states that “there are only two kinds of daughters, those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughters!”(Tan 4) So no matter how much she didn’t like her mother pushing her mother knew that pushing her would help her become the successful person she knew that she could become. Jing Mei, who was excited at the beginning process of choosing the best prodigy. She stated, “I pictured this prodigy part of me as many different images, and I tried each one for sure.”(Tan1) In all her imagining she was filled with a sense that she would become perfect and that her mother and father would adore...
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