Essay on Success and Failure in Two Kinds by Amy Tan

1889 Words8 Pages
Amy Tan, a child of Chinese immigrants, wrote the story “Two Kinds”, telling the tale of a Jing-Mei’s rebellion against her mother’s desire to change her into a prodigy. As Jing-Mei’s mother continually tells her she does not try hard enough to succeed, the conflict between Jing-Mei and her mother escalates. Jing-Mei grows more stubborn, making every effort to resist her mother, and the relationship devolves into a standoff where mother and daughter both refuse to budge from their position. “Two Kinds” shows the irony in Jing-Mei’s relationship with her mother; while her mother believes Jing-Mei does not try hard enough to succeed, Jing-Mei succeeds in her struggle for identity by refusing to become the person her mother wants. The…show more content…
Her uncertainties fester and lead her to discover her independent spirit, laying seed to the growth of her rebelliousness and the blossoming of the thorny relationship with her mother. Her mother’s continual push to change Jing-Mei into a prodigy fuels Jing-Mei’s inner transformation from an obedient daughter to a defiant child. After several pitiable failures at intelligence tests, Jing-Mei sees disappointment in her mother’s face and Jing-Mei’s desire for perfection crumbles. Stricken, she takes a close look at herself in a mirror and sees a “sad, ugly girl” (Tan 207) looking back. Suddenly, a change takes place and a new face emerges in the mirror. Jing-Mei sees a “girl staring back…angry, powerful.” (Tan 207) Her metamorphosis concludes, leaving Jing-Mei bold, assertive, and angry, filled with a desire to keep her identity and resist change. Jing-Mei acts differently after her transformation by displaying profound apathy, causing her mother to lose resolve. Instead of giving up, her mother decides to transform Jing-Mei into a great musician, and Jing-Mei soon finds herself taking piano lessons. Her tutor, however, suffers from deaf ears and she takes advantage of his handicap by pretending to studiously play. Jing-Mei succeeds with her ruse to the point where her mother brags to Jing-Mei’s Auntie Lindo about her piano playing prowess, saying: “It’s like you can’t stop her natural talent.” (Tan 209) Soon
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