16 November 2013
Apathy-Mantra-Death; Apathy-Empathy-Healing William D. Tammeus, a journalist, once wrote that “You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.” This quote beautifully paints a picture of the natural love present between a parent and child. However, sometimes this love becomes obscured and a disconnection occurs that prevents the parent from empathy. The stories “Two Kinds, and “The Rocking Horse Winner” show that a parent’s lack of empathy impacts the child’s search for the self in the following phases: first, the search for the self is stunted…show more content…
I pictured this prodigy part of me as many different images, and I tried each one on for size” (Tan 405). However as the time passes by, the mother’s tests driven by a lack of empathy begins to suffocate and stunt the search for the self within Jing-mei. She recalls, “And after seeing, once again, my mother's disappointed face, something inside me began to die” (Tan 406). As her search for the self is suffocated to its threshold, Jing-mei stands in front of the mirror. Here her search for the self is completely buried and replaced with mantras, “filled with lots of wont’s. I won't let her change me… I won't be what I'm not” (Tan 406).
In the second stage, the mantra intensifies and this can be observed in Paul as his mother continues to deprive him of her empathy. While Paul’s search for the self is deeply buried, his initial mantra does get him the luck he is searching for. He wins five thousand pounds to secretly give to his mother. This is an important and emotional gift to her because “He was very anxious to see the effect of the birthday letter…” (Lawrence 359). This is an open window for Paul’s healing and recovery of the self if she could muster some emotion and empathy for his efforts. Instead, she leaves him still deprived. “When Paul watched her face as she read the letters… her face hardened and became more expressionless” (Lawrence 359). Asking for one last chance to see emotion capable of love and empathy on her mother’s face, Paul asks,