Josh A. Robertson
Paper 3 “Two Kinds” Amy Tan
In Amy Tan’s short story “Two Kinds” Jing-Mei, the story’s main character, takes a stand against her mother. The story opens as she describes her childhood, which was full of pain and resentment caused by never becoming the “prodigy” that her mother desperately wanted her to be. Despite her best intentions, Jing-Mei always fell short of her mother’s expectations and one night, she made a pact to herself that she would never allow her mother to try to change her. After her mother saw a young Chinese girl play the piano on a television show she decided that Jing-Mei should take lessons from the neighbor. The neighbor, Mr. Chong, Jing-Mei discovered was deaf, and that she easily could get away with playing the wrong notes. Months later, Mr. Chong and her mother entered Jing-Mei in a talent contest. She believed that her inner prodigy would surface and allow her to play well, but the performance proved to be an utter disaster. Two days later, while being urged to go to practice an argument of devastating proportions began. Her mother never spoke of piano lessons ever again. Decades later, she received the family’s piano as a present for her thirtieth birthday. Months after her mother’s death, she plays it and realizes the truth about her mother’s intentions. The central idea in Tan’s story is, parents cannot control or dictate their children’s lives but only try to guide them in the right direction. Tan’s main character Jing-Mei was self centered, bratty and very inconsiderate of the effects of her behavior had on the people in her life. She is buried so deep in her ways that it is not until she is an adult that she recognizes how messed up she is. Her mother’s character was forceful and pushy it was only natural that Jing-Mei rebelled against her. If she had only been gentle with her the results may have been different. To say the least both characters were deeply flawed and made for...
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