What Is The Theme Of Two Kinds By Amy Tan

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In the story “Two Kinds”, by Amy Tan, an Asian-American daughter is faced with the pressures her mother puts upon her of expectations of success; in particular, the expectation is to become a young prodigy. Throughout the story, Jing- mei faces external and internal conflicts while struggling to find her own identity. While facing the struggles brought in her life, Jing- mei comes upon the realization that her mother believed in her and only wanted her to be the best that she can be. The theme the author tries to portray in this short story is the idea of the American dream. Many people that come to America believe that a person can be anything they want to be. Jing- Mei’s mother puts these pressures and beliefs on her daughter to live this …show more content…
Jing- Mei’s mother had many ideas of changing her to be “Shirley Temple” or to be like “Peter Pan”. In reality, her mother wanted her to be optimistic and perseverant and she was just going about it the wrong way. Each time Jing- Mei was tested and failed it caused more self- doubt and low self-esteem to her confidence. She said, “If you don’t hurry up and get me out of here, I’m disappearing for good, and then you’ll always be nothing.” (Tan 1) As the failed expectations piled up, Jing- Mei fought to not let her mother try to make her be what she was not. Due to this self-doubt, this builds up an internal conflict with herself to where she fears she will never be special to her mother, and she will never be worth her mother’s sacrifices. Another external problem is Jing- Mei against society. Jing- Mei struggles to find where she fits in Chinese and American cultures, and her mother does not understand because they are from different generations and different …show more content…
Waverly is Jing- Mei’s friend and a chess prodigy. Waverly symbolizes what her mother wants her to be, and what Jing- Mei wants to be for herself, and she symbolizes a life goal. In a way, the piano piece is a symbol of Jing- Mei’s biggest failure, and biggest rebellion against her mother, and in another way, it is a half of two songs. The other half of the song is “Perfectly contented”, which shows that a pleading child cannot be perfectly contented as long as she cannot resolve issues within herself and issues with her mother. While coming to this realization Jing- Mei see’s that her mother was not asking for perfection, but to try her best and show improvement. “Pleading child” is depicted as Jing- Mei’s big failure because this is when she played in front of the audience and did not try at all. This was embarrassing to her and her mother, but throughout all of that her mother did not give up on

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