Conflicting Points of View in Two Kinds by Amy Tan

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The story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan is about a mother and daughter who have strong conflicting ideas about what it means to have a sense of self. This may be partly due to the mother growing up in China, which is a very different culture than the American culture where endless opportunities are available to anyone who wants to pursue them. Jing-mei's mother wants her daughter to be the best, a prodigy of sorts, and to have the kind of life, full of hopes and dreams that she did not have. In the beginning of the story Jing-mei liked the idea of becoming a prodigy however, the prodigy in her became impatient. "If you don't hurry up and get me out of here, I'm disappearing for good." It warned. "And then you'll always be nothing" (500). After disappointing her mother several times Jing-mei started to detest the idea of becoming a prodigy. The idea Jing-mei's mother had for her to become a prodigy was too much pressure for a small child and was something that Jing-mei was clearly not ready to be. As a result the pressure that her mother laid upon her only made Jing-mei rebel against her mother and she resisted in giving her best. Jing-mei did this because she only wanted her mother's love and acceptance for who she was not only what she could become. Furthermore, Jing-mei's point of view of being the kind of person that one can be proud of was very different from her mother's point of view.

Jing-mei and her mother have conflicting values of how Jing-mei should live her life. She tries to see what becoming a prodigy would be like from her mother's point of view and the perks that it would bring her as she states in the story "In all my imaginings, I was filled with a sense that I would soon become perfect. My mother and f...

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... her own person and wanting only to be accepted for who she is and not who she could be. Even though the argument was never discussed it still haunted Jing-mei. That is why Jing-mei was surprised when her mother offered her the piano for her thirtieth birthday, she took it as a sign of forgiveness.

The theme that comes to mind for me when I read this story is conflicting values. While growing up it was an important value to Jing-mei to be accepted for the daughter that she was. Unlike the value of her mother which was to not only become the best you can be but a prodigy, someone famous. In the way that Jing-mei's mother pushes so hard for her to become something bigger than she was it seems that Jing-mei tried her hardest not to.

Works Cited

Tan, Amy. “Two Kinds”. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Longman. Boston. 10th ed. 2011
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