Two Kinds: Mother-Daughter Relationships

Topics: Amy Tan, Piano, The Joy Luck Club Pages: 2 (533 words) Published: May 7, 2012
For a majority of children, mothers play an important part in who they are while growing up. Throughout all the experiences, whether it is help with homework, catching an illness, protection from the closet monsters, or just comfort, a child’s mother is there to love and nuture them. In “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan, the main struggle is between Jeng-Mei, a young Chinese-American girl, and her mother, a Chinese immigrant, who tries to live her vision of the “American Dream” through Jeng-Mei, which eventually leads to Jeng-Mei’s rebellion. At first, Jeng-Mei states she was “just as excited as [her] mother” (181) about becoming a prodigy. Jeng-Mei imagines herself in a variety of roles from a ballerina to Cinderella, and even Jesus Christ. Jeng-Mei believes that if she becomes this prodigy, her mother, who always boasts about her being, a prodigy she will “become perfect” (181), and her mother and father will finally “adore [her]” (181). As the story progresses Jeng-Mei realizes that her idea and her mother’s idea of the American Dream are completely different. Her mother takes ideas from articles of “amazing children she had read about in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Good Housekeeping, Reader’s Digest…” (181) in order to synthesize Jeng-Mei into a prodigy. Her mother begins goes to the extreme when she begins presenting Jeng-Mei with difficult exams that ranged from “multiplying numbers in [her] head, finding the queen of hearts in a deck, trying to stand on [her] head without using [her] hands, and predicting temperatures…” (181). After attempting the tests, failing, and disappointing her mother Jeng-Mei becomes frustrated and angry. Pressure from her mother begins to take a tole on a Jeng-Mei her mother forces Jeng-Mei to take piano lessons. Jeng-Mei states she “felt as though {she} had been sent to hell.” (182) Jeng-mei then argues “Why don’t you like me the way I am? I’m nota genius!I can’t play the piano.” However, her mother, blinded by her vision of the American...
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