Theme Of Two Kinds By Amy Tan

Decent Essays
In the short story “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan, a relationship is shown between a mother and daughter that exemplifies the complexities and intricacies between the two. Throughout the story, the mother chooses to showcase different musical talents towards her daughter, in hope that her daughter masters one and becomes a “child prodigy.” Meanwhile, the daughter chooses to find herself through her own means rather than through the dreams of her mother, which sets the theme of how the expectations of a parent can lead to resentment from the child, especially when the child fails or struggles to reach the expectations of the parent. The voracious love between mother and daughter, supported by the tale of the harrowing journey the mother has already …show more content…
“You have natural talent.” (828) Once her daughter had found a talent, she feels as if her daughter will have something in which no one can take from her. As the mother’s ambition rises, so do the standards for the daughter. “You could be a genius if you want to.” (828) Her mother is well meaning, but to the daughter she is overly forceful. Her mother looks back at her life in China, and wants a better life for her daughter. The exposition of “Two Kinds” is when Jing- Mei’s mother moved to the United States and had dreams of her daughter being a prodigy. Back in China, the mother experienced many moments of suffering and loss for her children in which she felt “… like a small brown leaf, thin, brittle, lifeless.” (828) Before moving to the place where the “American Dream” happens, the mother had lost her two parents, home, first husband, and her other set of twin children. The “American Dream” is enforced to create your child to be successful, so parents push their child to have a super natural talent for something. Jing’s mother is so eager to have this, due to their Chinese cultural background of having a “special child.” Meanwhile, although the mother is pushing many different talents upon her, Jing is struggling to find her own interest and …show more content…
It was called ‘Perfectly Contented’. I tried to play this one as well. ‘Pleading Child’ was shorter but slower. It had a lighter melody but the same flowing rhythm.. after I played them both a few times, I realized they were two halves of the same song.” (829) After the passing months of her mother, Jing Mei realizes her life represents pieces of the story. When Jing was a young child, she could be pictured as a “Pleading Child” because of the way she argues against her mother’s plan by turning her into a child prodigy. She wants to become her own individual, and not have her mom make her someone that she is not. Moreover though, as she gets older she becomes “Perfectly Contented” because she realizes that her mother never intended to upset her or make her feel inadequate in anyway. In the end, the mother just wanted her daughter to become happy and successful. As an adult, she realizes this when she looks at the piano and feels “proud”, as though it were a trophy that she had “won back.” Likewise, she has a final clear understanding of her mother’s motivation. As the adult she is now, she realizes and accepts that the conflict between the two of them is a normal and natural part of their mother daughter relationship. The resolution and anagnorisis of the short story is when the two titles of the songs, “Perfectly Contented” and “Pleading Child” represent each of them and the two sides of their treacherous relationship.

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