Character Analysis on Jing-Mei in "Two Kinds"

Pages: 2 (603 words) Published: April 28, 2005
"Two Kinds," by Amy Tan is a story in which a Chinese mother believes that her daughter can do anything in the United States as long as she puts her mind to it and decides to push her daughter, Jing-Mei, into being a prodigy. Unfortuantely, Jing-Mei and her mother do not share the same views on things. Jing-Mei wants to establish her own identity apart from her mother and feels that she can be successful through her own efforts and determination. Jing-Mei's desire to be an independent person leads to her stubbornness, hardness, and cruelty. At the beginning of the story, Jing-Mei's mother attempts to dominate and control her daughter's life. Jing-Mei's mother presents her with many tests from stories of amazing children. The test include: knowing the capitals of states, multiplying numbers in her head, finding the queen of hearts in a deck of cards, trying to stand on her head without using her hands, predicting the daily temperatures in cities, and looking at a page from the Bible for three minutes to see what she remembers. After many failed tests in knowledge and skills, Jing-Mei quickly begins to lost interest in her mother's dream of being a prodigy and becomes stubborn. "I won't let her change, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not" (213, paragraph 19). This clearly shows that Jing-Mei is trying to resist her mother's domination and control. She wants to be herself and make her own choices. Just as Jing-Mei thinks her mother has given up, her mother persists and arranges for her to take piano lessons. After three months pass, Jing-Mei's mother sees a Chinese girl playing the piano on the Ed Sullivan Show and gets the same idea for Jing-Mei. Her mother arranges for her to take lessons with Mr. Chong and this begins to take over her daughter's free time. When Jing-Mei learns that Mr. Chong is deaf, she is lazy and gets away with lots of mistakes. She also discovers ways to fool him and make it look like she was playing. In getting ready...
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