Conflicting ValuesA majority of parents and children today have disagreements on what the child should do. For example, parents have an idea where they want their children to attend college. The child might want to attend a totally different college. Most of the time the parents input is not appreciated until the child is an adult.Some children do what their parents want out of respect and obedience, just as Jing-mei in the short story “Two Kinds”The short story ” Two Kinds” by author Amy Tan depicts the life of a young Chinese immigrant girl and her family.
The young girl’s name is Jing-mei. Jing-mei’s mother always wanted the best for her. She wanted her daughter to be a prodigy at age nine. Jing-mei’s mother chose the type of prodigy she would be.
This is the theme of the story, conflicting values. Jing-mei Smith 2wanted to be an individual, while her mother demanded she do what was suggested. There were many reasons why Jing-mei’s mother demanded so much from her.
She had invested the time trying to make Jing-mei a prodigy because she was her last hope. Jing-mei’s mother had lost two children while in China. Jing-mei’s mother also expected her to be a prodigy because she was a Chinese immigrant; she felt immigrants had to prove that they were as talented as or more talented than Americans were.Jing-mei’s mother didn’t know what she wanted her to do, so she experimented. First came the dancing and singing trails, ” at first my mother wanted me to be a Chinese Shirley Temple” (Tan 450).Jing-mei never agreed to the things that other wanted her to do. Jing-mei was upset with her mother for forcing her to be A “Chinese Shirley Temple”.
This plan didn’t work out. Jing-mei’s mother presented her with tests daily to see if she had a prodigy side. Jing-mei wasn’t always successful when taking these tests. “After seeing mySmith 3mother’s disappointed once again, something inside of me began to die. I hated the tests, the raised hopes andfailed expectations”(Tan 451) this shows how much Jing-mei disliked the things her mother put her through.
She is a nine-year-old child she doesn’t want to take tests. She wants to do what most nine-year-olds do, that’s play.Jing-mei’s mother decides she wants Jing-mei to try her hand at being a pianist. When Jing-mei learned of this decision she was highly upset.
” When my mother told me this, I felt as though I had been sent to hell” (Tan 453). Jing-mei’s reference to “hell” expresses her angst toward her mother’s decision. Jing-mei’s plea to her mother to be a normal child comes after she is told the dates of her piano lessons. ” Why don’t you like me the way I am? I’m not A genius! I can’t plat the piano”(Tan 453).Jing-mei took the piano lesson every day despite what she wanted to do. She went through the motions at the piano lessons she never put any effort into it because she was being forced to be there.
“I did pick up the basics pretty quick, I might have become a good pianist at a young age. But I was determined no to try,Smith 4not to become anybody different” (Tan 454) Jing-mei wanted to be her own person. She didn’t want to be whather mother wanted her to be.
Toward the end of this short story Jing-mei’s mother enrolls her in a recital to showcase her talent. Jing-mei was to play the song “Pleading Child”. She played the song horribly at the recital. Jing-mei once again was upset with her mother for making her play in the recital. Jing-mei’s mother still made her take piano lesson after the bad recital. Jing-mei was furious at her mother because she continued to make her play.Jing-mei’s built up frustration exploded in a comment that ended her mothers forced piano lessons, “I wish I wasn’t your daughter.
I wish you waren’t my mother I wish I was dead like them” (Tan 457). Jing-meiWas referring to the children that her mother had lost in China. This comment showed how much she disliked her mother’s decision to make her play piano.”Two Kinds” is narrated by Jing-mei after she realizes that her mother wanted the best for her. She is looking back on the events as an adult. Jing-mei has realized that her mother wanted her to be the best. SheSmith 5wasn’t making Jing-mei doing things to punish her.
Heather Thomas, a literary critic of the “Two sides to aheritage coin” website believes Jing-mei’s mother was the villain of the story. She believes she was the villain because she forced Jing-mei to do things She didn’t want to do. She also believes she was the villain because she was only thinking about herself and her status.
I believe that Jing-mei’s mother just wanted the best for her. Jing-mei’s mother’s decisions weren’t appreciated until Jing-mei was old enough to understand her mother’s actions. Works citedTan, Amy. “Two Kinds”.
Literature: Reading, reacting, and writing. Ed. Laurie g. Kirszner and Stephen r.
Mandell. Harcourt College Publishers:1991. 450-458.Thomas,Heather.
“Two sides to the heritage coin” June,15 2000. March,24 1999.