A Mother’s DreamFor a lot children growing up, our mothers have been an complete part of what made us who we are. Mostly all good mothers want the best for their child and they are determine to do whatever it takes for them to get it. The central struggle in Amy Tan’s story Two Kinds” is a battle of wills between the narrator, a young Chinese-American girl, and her mother, a Chinese immigrant. “Two Kinds” is a coming-of-age story, in which the narrator, Jing-mei, struggles to forge her own sense of identity in the face of her strong-willed mother’s dream that she become a “prodigy.
” Suyuan, Jing-mei’s mother, believes in the American Dream. With hard work, she feels that Jing-Mei can be anything she wants to be in this great country. After all, Suyuan does not want her daughter to ever suffer the kind of deprivation and tragedies that she had to endure in China. But Jing-Mei has no desire to prove herself or excel in any field.
She wants to take life as it comes. In her words, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me Tan (679). Since Suyuan believes that anything can be accomplished and she uses her daughter as her outlet to prove it. She continuously gives Jing-mei numerous test and eventually forces her to take piano lessons, which becomes Suyuan’s prime focus of her ‘perfect daughter’ determination. As Jing-mei takes her lesson she discovers that since her teacher was deaf she could fool him and act like she was really learning but her practing habits soon came to light. Jing-mei was in a talent show and was suppose to play a piece called, “Pleading Child” and when it came to the recital, Jing-mei was horrible.
Neither Jing-mei nor Suyuan is completely to blame for the piano recital disaster. It is Suyuans non-stop nagging and insinuations regarding her daughters flaws that partially drive Jing-mei to refuse to practice seriously. The pain Jing-mei feels after the recital stems not just from her own failure but also from her shame in having disappointed her mother. Suyuans inflated expectations and excessive pressure backfire, contributing to Jing-meis failure to achieve what she might have achieved if left alone. Yet, at the same time, the disastrous piano recital also testifies to the power of Suyuans love for Jing-mei, and to her faith in her daughters ability. The endless energy that Suyuan devotes to the search for Jing-meis inner prodigycleaning for her piano teacher, saving up for a used pianodemonstrates that her motivations probably lie deeper than the promise of bragging rights at church each Sunday. Many years later, Jing-mei realizes that Suyuans attempt to bring out her prodigy expressed her deep faith in her daughters abilities rather than her desire to make her something she was not and perhaps the shame she felt after her recital in fact stems from her guilt in having willed her own failure.
Jing-meis story deals with a clash between her mothers faith and belief in persistence versus Jing-mei’s inner sense of futility. Jing-mei believes that she is simply not fated to be a prodigy, that ultimately there resides within her an unchangeable element of mediocrity. When she tells her reflection in the mirror one night that she will not allow her mother to change her, that she will not try to be what she is not, she asserts her will in a strong but negative manner. At that moment, she recalls, she saw the prodigy side of herself in the anger and determination that were in her face. This comment suggests that prodigy is really ones will, ones desire to succeed. In retrospect, Jing-mei feels that perhaps she never gave herself a chance at the piano because she never devoted her will to trying.
Cite this A Mothers Dream in Amy Tan’s Story “Two Kinds”
A Mothers Dream in Amy Tan’s Story “Two Kinds”. (2019, Jan 08). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-mothers-dream/