Two Kinds

Topics: Amy Tan, Piano, The Joy Luck Club Pages: 2 (698 words) Published: February 21, 2006
Two Kinds: The Search for Contentment
In "Two Kinds," Amy Tan writes about the struggles between a futile daughter and her persistent mother. This excerpt from her novel, "The Joy Luck Club," explores several other important themes, such as the control over one's destiny, the freedom of decision-making, and the attempt to live the ‘American Dream.' However, the last paragraph in "Two Kinds" reflects the story's most important theme – the search for one self's true identity. The premise of this short story revolves around Suyuan unduly forcing her daughter, Jing-mei, to develop into a child prodigy. Mother Suyuan, obsessed with this notion, explores many hobbies which require a skill that her daughter will hopefully soon master. This presents several significant threats to their mother-daughter relationship. Suyuan compels her daughter to be something that she ultimately was not. Jing-mei constantly feels pressured into participation which does not appeal to her, as if she was a prisoner to her mother's demands and wishes. She lacks the power to concentrate on her own likes and dislikes. Jing-mei needs to first find strength in her own interests before she can be liberated, and the last paragraph of this story reflects just that. In her efforts to morph her child into a young phenom, Suyuan buys a piano, complete with daily lessons with Old Chong, her new instructor. Not surprisingly, Jing-mei hates playing the piano, but finds ways to slack off without being noticed by her ironically deaf teacher. There is no passion in her piano practicing. It just isn't her. She begs for the piano lessons to end, desperate for a chance to demonstrate her own interests. But the classes are still scheduled, even after her tragically embarrassing public piano recital. But one day Jing-mei finally has enough of her mother's demands. Tired of unhappily trying to please her mother, Jing-mei stubbornly refuses to attend another piano lesson. Jing-mei defiantly stands her ground...
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