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Essay about Conflicting Points of View in Two Kinds by Amy Tan

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The story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan is about a mother and daughter who have strong conflicting ideas about what it means to have a sense of self. This may be partly due to the mother growing up in China, which is a very different culture than the American culture where endless opportunities are available to anyone who wants to pursue them. Jing-mei's mother wants her daughter to be the best, a prodigy of sorts, and to have the kind of life, full of hopes and dreams that she did not have. In the beginning of the story Jing-mei liked the idea of becoming a prodigy however, the prodigy in her became impatient. "If you don't hurry up and get me out of here, I'm disappearing for good." It warned. "And then you'll always be nothing" (500).…show more content…
Jing-mei goes along for quite awhile with the tests that her mother puts together for her after reading stories of amazing children. Tests about things that Jing-mei could not pass because she did not have any interest in knowing about the things she was tested on. Jing-mei could not stand to disappoint her mother any more "I hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations." (501) was one of the feelings that started to envelop her and she soon realized that she was angry and that she would not let her mother change her into something she was not. For example, she decided to act bored and answer questions to her mother's tests with a lack of interest. After a while Jing-mei thought that her mother was giving up hope and she would be free to do what she wanted to do but this did not last for very long her mother had a new idea from a television program that showed a little Chinese girl who could play the piano.

Even though Jing-mei thought she was safe from having to learn to play the piano because her family did not have one and could not afford one, her mother traded housecleaning services for a piano and lessons with a neighbor who was a retired piano teacher in the apartment building in which they lived. She told Jing-mei that she would be practicing for two hours every day. This was when Jing-mei realized that she was not going to be free to be who she wanted to be and her mother
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