Essay on Road to Perfect Contentment

Essay on Road to Perfect Contentment

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The secret to understanding is the will to try. Since the existence of society, people have always strived to try their best. However, some individuals don’t want “best.” Jing-mei, the protagonist in Amy Tan’s short story “Two Kinds,” is one of these people, believing that she could never amount to anything big. Jing-mei refused to hope that she could be anyone special, leading her to stubbornly reject her mother until she finally understood what her mother was trying to do, demonstrating how people will only be happy when they choose to do things on their own free will.
When Jing-mei’s mother pushed her to become a prodigy, she refused to try because she believed that she could not, and as a result, became very stubborn. In the beginning, Jing-mei believed her mother about being able to become anything she wants in America, the land of opportunity. However, after screaming at herself in the bathroom mirror for constantly raising hopes too high and failing expectations too miserably, Jing-mei changed her attitude. “I won’t let her change me, I promised myself. I won’t be what I’m not” (Tan 477). Jing-mei started to believe that she was fated to be mediocre, to never be extraordinary. She convinced herself that she could only be herself, which, for sure, wasn’t a prodigy. Jing-mei became very determined, but towards the wrong goal, refusing to try. She half-heartedly participated in her mother’s tests, and when she started to play piano, found a loophole and never tried hard enough. After the recital fiasco, where Jing-mei failed her piano performance miserably, she decided that “I didn’t have to do what my mother said anymore. I wasn’t her slave… I had listened to her before and look what happened” (Tan 483), blaming the disaster...


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...r mother held for. She realized that her mother only wanted one thing: for her to try.
Jing-mei differed from her mother in one way: “I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be” (Tan 484), leading her to stubbornly refuse to try, until, in time, she finally understood what her mother wanted for her: the best she could be. From the haircut mishap to the magazine tests, Jing-mei had more or less tried to live up to her mother’s expectations. However, since the piano fiasco, Jing-mei gave up, and soon after, her mother lost hope in her daughter as well. It wasn’t until years later, after her mother had died, did Jing-mei realize her mother’s intentions. Jing-mei was once a pleading child stuck on the notion that “I could only be me” (Tan 484), but twenty years later, she became perfectly contented, understanding that there is no limit to efforts and dreams.

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