Two Kinds By Amy Tan  Essay

Two Kinds By Amy TanAmy Tans’ heartbreaking story, ?Two Kinds?, is a powerful example of
conflicting personalities and needs that cause a struggle between parent and
child. In every family, parents have, at one point, imposed their failures and
expectations on their children, and in worse cases have even tried to live
through their children. At times, it can be in the best interest of the child to
have a parent motivate them in a specific direction, but as in this story it can
sometimes backfire, and the child can be left with feelings of disapproval and
questions of ?self-worth.? Instead of enforcing these standards parents
should let their children be individuals, and have them learn through their own
conscious decisions, and only interfere when the child is headed in the wrong
direction. Of course, family values and morals should be taught to a child at a
young age to prevent any disastrous situations, and help the child determine
between right and wrong. Jing-Mei stands for this individualism in the story,
and the mother represents that obtrusive unwanted force. Amy Tans’ message in
this passage is clear. Frequently imposing standards on a person throughout
their life can greatly affect their actions, feelings, and attitudes. The major
conflict in this story is between Jing-Mei and her mother. Ever since Jing-Mei
was a little girl her mother has believed she could be a prodigy. Her mother
would watch television or read articles in magazines to get ideas from other
amazing children. Then she would test Jing-Mei tirelessly to try and find
something she would be best at. At first Jing-Mei seemed to enjoy her mothers
intentions, ? In fact in the beginning I was just as excited as my mother,
maybe even more so? (386), but as time went on the tests started to get harder
and Jing-Mei kept failing repeatedly. After constantly having to see her mothers
disappointed face, Jing-Mei’s attitude and feelings began to change, ?I
hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations.? (387) She began to
see a new side of herself; a strong powerful girl with willful thoughts and lots
of won’ts, ? I won’t let her change me, I promised myself I won’t be
what I’m not.? (387) So throughout the rest of her life she asserted her
right to fall short of her mothers expectations, believing that she could never
be anything she wanted to be, she can only be herself. Jing-Mei is the
protagonist in this story; we read the story through her eyes and her point of
view. She makes herself seem more like a victim of her mother’s expectations
rather than what she really is, a hurt little girl who does not understand why
her mother does not accept her for who she is. Jing-Mei has to deal with both
external and internal conflicts. The internal being her feelings of accepting
who she is and how she would like to live her life, and the external being her
mothers constant pushing of her pseudo images of what she believes Jing-Mei
should be. Jing-Mei’s upbringing in a society that highly values individualism
and autonomy has had a great effect on her feelings and actions. This influence
has enabled her to make the decision that she cannot abide by her mother’s
expectations anymore, and it has helped her stand firmly behind it. The mother
is the antagonist in the story; she does not realize what she is doing to her
daughter. In her mind she is just helping Jing-Mei to strive for the best, by
Jing-Mei opposing her it makes her feel that her daughter is ungrateful and
disobedient. This wanting and pushing for the best stems from their current
situation, of having little money, and from the mother’s past experiences.

?America was where all my mother’s hopes lay.? (386) This is the country
were she wants her daughter to have a better life than she had. She was born in
China where she lost everything: her mother and father, her family home, her
first husband, and her twin baby girls. She was not regretful of her past, and
she always felt ?things could get better in so many ways.? (386) The loss of
her daughters and her belief that you could be anything you want to be in
America is a strong example of why she is so persistent in making Jing-Mei
become the best she can be. It’s like she is taking all her hopes and dreams
for three daughters and throwing it all on top of one, as if Jing-Mei had to
fulfill the lives of her ?dead? sisters. Although the mother did not present
her motivations in the correct manner, I believe she truly meant no harm, and
was only trying to be a good parent. The atmosphere of the story continues with
an array of conflicts. Jing-Mei is forced to take piano lessons after her mother
saw a Chinese girl, whom resembled Jing-Mei, playing piano on the Ed Sullivan
show. Being that Jing-Mei had no interest in playing piano she lazily went about
her lessons, and got away with it, because she had a deaf teacher. Jing-Mei did
this despite the fact that her mother had traded housecleaning services for her
lessons. Not knowing of her daughter’s disobedience, Jing-Mei’s mother
bragged about her one day after church ? If we ask Jing-Mei wash dish, she
hear nothing but music. Its like you can’t stop this natural talent.? (390)
This made Jing-Mei even more determined to put a stop to her mother’s foolish
pride. By not practicing and being determined to disappoint her mother, Jing-Mei
is humiliated one evening after she tried to play the piano at a talent show.

We will write a custom essay sample on
Two Kinds By Amy Tan  Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

Even though Jing-Mei continuously wanted to disappoint her mother that night her
mother’s face devastated her. This situation lead to their final conflict. Not
giving up on her, Jing-Mei’s mother tried to get her to return to her lessons
one afternoon. After throwing a tantrum Jing-Mei said the words that would end
their quarrels for good, ? Then I wish I’d never been born! I wish I were
dead! Like them.? (393) After saying this to her mother everything stopped,
her hopes, her dreams everything she wanted for her daughter ended in that
single moment. Jing-Mei and her mother are both at fault in this story. Instead
of trying to please one another, their heads were clouded with their own
selfishness. They destroyed that mother-daughter bond they should have shared.

It is unfortunate that Jing-Mei realizes what she has lost after it is too late,
and her mother has already passed on. They were the same, Jing-Mei and her
mother, but blinded by their own needs they never realized ? they were two
halves of the same song ?


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out