Two Kinds by Amy Tan Essay

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In the short story, "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan, a Chinese mother and daughter are at odds with each other. The mother pushes her daughter to become a prodigy, while the daughter (like most children with immigrant parents) seeks to find herself in a world that demands her Americanization. This is the theme of the story, conflicting values. In a society that values individuality, the daughter sought to be an individual, while her mother demanded she do what was suggested. This is a conflict within itself. The daughter must deal with an internal and external conflict. Internally, she struggles to find herself. Externally, she struggles with the burden of failing to meet her mother’s expectations. Being a first-generation Asian American,…show more content…
At first, the daughter was to become a Chinese version of Shirley Temple. When that didn’t work, her mother told her that she would be attending piano lessons.
The daughter did not like the idea of playing the piano. “Why don’t you like me the way I am? . . . I am not a genius! I can’t play the piano. And even if I could, I wouldn’t go on TV if you paid me a million dollars!” (492-493). Here, Tan is conveying the fact that parents and children have disagreements on what the child should do, and who the child is to become. For example, parents may have an idea where they want their child to attend their college education. The child, on the other hand, may want to go to a different college as suggested. Ultimately, it is the decision of the child. We cannot live how others want us to live. It is the path of our own making that truly makes us happy.
Some may see the mother trying to live her life through her daughter. She invests time trying to make her daughter a prodigy because she was her last hope. The mother lost two children in China and moves to a new country. Coming to America, she felt that immigrants have to prove that they are as talented as or more talented than Americans. This belief is supposed to be the basis for the determination, that the mother has, for Jing-mei to become a prodigy.
The mother in the story tries everything in her power to make Jing-mei famous in some way. Yet Jing-mei was content to being herself.

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