- Term Papers and Free Essays

Two Kinds

Essay by   •  March 3, 2011  •  1,057 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,600 Views

Essay Preview: Two Kinds

Report this essay
Page 1 of 5

Two Kinds

"Two Kinds" is truly an amazing work; it captivates readers with by telling a story of a young girl trying to find herself. Amy Tan does a phenomenal job, not only by portraying a very real mother-daughter relationship, but at showing how much a young girl can change. Jing-Mei evolves throughout the story in a way that many people can relate to; crushed hopes, obeying your parents even if it means doing something you don't want to do, and finally standing up for what you believe in.

Since "You could be anything you wanted to be in America" (Tan 348) Jing-Meis' mother thought that meant that you had to be a prodigy. While that makes "Everything [sound] too simple and too easily achieved; [Jing-Mei] does not paint a picture of her mother as ignorant or silly" (Brent). In fact, in the beginning, Jing-Mei and her mother are both trying to "Pick the right kind of prodigy" (Tan 349). "In the beginning, [she] was just as excited as [her] mother,"(Tan 349) she wanted to be a prodigy, she wanted to "become perfect...[she wanted her] mother and father to adore [her]"(Tan 349). As she strived to achieve perfection she and her mother would try many different things to try and find the "right kind of prodigy" (Tan 349).

"Every night after dinner, [Jing-Mei and her mother] would sit at the Formica kitchen table. [Her mother] would present new tests, taking her examples from stories of amazing children she had read in Ripley's Believe It or Not, or Good Housekeeping, Reader's Digest, and a dozen other magazines...[Her mother] would look through them all, searching for stories about remarkable children" (Tan 350)

Over time "The tests got harder--multiplying numbers in [her] head, finding the queen of hearts in a deck of cards, trying to stand on [her] head without using [her] hands, predicting the daily temperatures in Los Angeles, New York, and London" (Tan 350). Jing-Mei tried the best she could but no matter how hard she tried she just didn't know the answers.

"After seeing [her] mother's disappointed face once again, something inside of [her] began to die. [She] hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations" (Tan 350). At this point in the story the protagonist, Jing-Mei, slowly comes to the realization that "[She'll never be the kind of daughter [her mother wants her] to be" (Tan 356). With the thought of not letting her mother change her Jin-Mei began to try to make her mother "Give up hope" (Tan 350). "[She] pretended to be bored" so that she would not have to take the tests. And it worked she was finally able to be herself, there was no "mention of [her] being a prodigy" (Tan 351).

But all too soon that changes, "One day [her] mother was watching The Ed Sullivan Show on TV....She seemed entranced by the music...[The music] was being pounded out by a little Chinese girl, about nine years old, with a Peter Pan haircut." But "In spite of these warning signs, [Jing-Mei] wasn't worried. [Her] family had no piano and [they] couldn't afford to buy one" (Tan 351). Days after watching the show, Jing-Meis' mother told her that she was to take piano lessons. "When [her] mother told [her] this, [Jing-Mei] felt as though [she] had been sent to hell," but all the whining and kicking would not cause her mother to deter her mother.

Jing-Mei found herself taking piano lessons that she did not want, and therefore "[She] was determined not to try, not to be anybody different" (Tan 353). For "The next year, [she] practiced like this" (Tan 353), not really caring if she was doing it wrong. Then one day she "Heard [her] mother and her friend Lindo Jong both talking in a loud bragging tone of voice" (Tan 353) about their daughters. When Jing-Mei heard her mother brag about "[Their] problem being worser than [Lindo's]...[Jing-Mei]



Download as:   txt (6 Kb)   pdf (88.8 Kb)   docx (10.9 Kb)  
Continue for 4 more pages »
Only available on