The Differences between American and Chinese Society In the story Two Kinds by Amy Tan, Jing Mei, a Chinese American girl struggles with her identity and learning how to balance her mother’s wants with her needs. Jing- Mei’s mother feels that obedience to her should come first and following her own aspirations should not be a consideration. With the pressures of pleasing her mother and still discovering one’s shelf, Jing-Mei searches for balance but finds conflict, confusion, and disdain. In the beginning, Jing-Mei was eagerly hoping to make her mother proud. However, her mother’s obsession with molding her into a child prodigy discouraged Jing-Mei from fulfilling her goals. One day the mother saw a little Chinese girl on television which made her think of her daughter. The little girl had such a great capability of playing the piano that it caught her mother’s attention. With conflicting views of each other they struggled to see eye to eye. Her mother was pressuring her to accomplish something in life. This is when Jing-Mei realizes that she can’t be a mastermind, which causes the conflict in the story. Jing-Mei says “And after seeing my mother’s disappointed face once again, something inside of me began to die.”(289) She was anxious with the idea that her daughter could be as smart, or smarter than the girls on television. She wanted Jing-Mei to start playing the piano because if her daughter tried, there would be a great outcome. The daughter is the one who probably learns more than the mother. Yet, the mother does learn some rather harsh truths about herself and her daughter. The mother sees herself always as a Chinese wife and mother. I could see why my mother was fascinated by the music. It was being pounded out by a little Chinese girl, about nine years old, with a Peter Pan haircut. The girl has the sauciness of a Shirley Temple. She was proudly modest like a proper Chinese child. And she also did the fancy sweep of a curtsy, so that
Cited: Lazarus, Emma. The New Colossus. 4 Sep. 2006. 24 Sep. 2010. Web. <http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/15028/>.
Tam, Amy. “Two Kinds.” Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. 4th ed. Ed. John Schilb and John Clifford. Boston: Bedford/ St.Martins, 2009. 288-96. Print.