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Internal And External Conflict: Amy Tan's Two Kinds

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Amy Tan's short story "Two Kinds" allows the reader to understand two kinds of conflict: internal and external. Jing-mei's mother believes Jing-mei can be anything she wants to be in America. Jing-mei has self doubt. Can she live up to her mother's expectations? Does she want to? There are conflicts within themselves and with each other.

One conflict occurs when Jing-mei looks in the mirror. All day, her mother had been giving her tests that were frustrating because they contained material Jing-mei hadn't learned. Her mother was pressuring her to succeed in life. She was preoccupied with the thought that her daughter could be as smart as, or even smarter than the children the mother had seen on television. Jing-mei starts getting mad at herself for not being a genius, which creates an internal conflict. In her mind, Jing-mei said: "And after seeing my mother's disappointed face once again, something inside of me began to die" ("Two Kinds," Page 47). Before bed that night, Jing-mei went into the bathroom and saw herself in the mirror. After getting a good look at herself, she saw her angry side; a side that she hadn't seen before. Suddenly, she had the power to refuse her mother's tests, and put the word "won't" into her vocabulary.

Jing-mei's mother notices that Jing-mei is no longer putting any effort into her mother's dream of becoming a prodigy. When her mother would present her with tests, Jing-mei didn't pay attention. The mother starts to give up hope. One reason Jing-mei's mother wants her to succeed is because she never had these opportunities and she wants a better life for her daughter. One day, the mother saw a little Chinese girl on television who reminded her of her daughter. The little girls ability to play the piano with such accomplishment fascinated the mother. She wanted her daughter to try playing the piano because she knew that if her daughter tried hard enough, she could be the best. At first, Jing-mei was not worried because they didn't have a piano and they couldn't afford to buy one. Then her mother decided to send Jing-mei to piano lessons. Her mother had the idea to exchange housecleaning services for weekly lessons, and a piano to practice on every day. An external

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