Last week in English class, we read a short story called “Two kinds” by Amy Tan. The short story outlines the main character Jing-Mei Woo’s childhood, and the effects of her mother’s high expectations for her life. I would say that the theme in the story is ”The American dream” and independence. Jing-Mei´s mother moved from china in hope for a better life for her and her daughter in America. She tries her best to make Jing-Mei succeed and become a prodigy.
Mrs Woo lost everything in China. She lost her husband, her house and two of her daughters. I think that she tries very hard to make Jing-Mei her “perfect” child since she lost her other daughters. Mrs Woo puts a lot of pressure on her daughter, she wants her to be the next Shirley Temple at first, but later she decides that Jing-Mei could be a piano prodigy. Jing-Mei feels that she is never able to play the songs right and she does not want to play the piano at all. But since her mother wants her to, and even bought a piano, Jing-Mei feels like she has to play for her mother’s sake.
Earlier in Jing-Mei´s childhood, she did as her mother told her, although she disagreed with her. After a while, she gets tired of her mother controlling her life, and she just wants her to love her, as she is, not for what she can do. Throughout her childhood and life, she disappoints her mother several times. She did not become class president, she did not get into Stanford and she dropped out of college.
I think she dropped out of college as a statement towards her mom. Since Mrs Woo was so controlling, Jing-Mei decided not to do the things her mom wanted her to.
The story ends with Jing-Mei trying to play the piano again several years later. She then discovers that for all these years, she has only played half the piano notes while playing. And that’s why she never played it right.
In my opinion, Jing-Mei´s mother was way too involved with her child’s future plans. Children will never be great at something, unless they want to, and put their minds into it. Therefore, there is no need for parents to push a child into doing something, to fulfill their own dreams. It seemed to me that the mother in the story wanted to achieve her own goals and dreams through her daughter.
I believe that the statement “It is more difficult for immigrant children to find their identity than other children.” is partially true. Immigrant children often feel like they are a part of both their native country, and the country they currently live in. The culture of both countries affects them, and that can be confusing at times. I also believe that it can be just as hard for children without a foreign background to find their identity. It depends on the person, and it depends on the different influences the children get.
It is a constant conflict between the mother and the daughter in the short story. I think that arguing with parents is a natural part of growing up, but when it is as constant as in “Two kinds” the relationship between the parent and the child does not get stronger, but worsened.
I liked the short story. I think that it is a good story about growing up and finding your own identity. Jing-Mei learned to stand up for herself and she learned to take her own choices.