Be One Kind
Everyone has their own dreams. They have goals they want to accomplish and a life they want to live.
However, sometimes people want you to have a different life than you initially planned. In the story, “Two Kinds,” by Amy Tan we see the story of relationship between a daughter, Jing-mei, and her mother. Both mother and daughter have very different ideas about who Jing-mei should be, her mother especially, for throughout the story she forces Jing-mei into many different activities to try and figure out her talent. In “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan we can see through the title of the story, recurring symbols, the characters and the point of view of the story that sometimes people want you to be different than who you want to be. First of all, the title of the story, “Two Kinds,” shows that people want you to be different than who you want to be.
“Two Kinds,” implies to our theme and refers to two different kinds of people that we see in this story. The type of person Jing-mei’s mom wants her to be and the type of person Jing-mei wants to be, both of which are vastly different. For example, we can find in this quote what Jing-mei’s mom means, “Only two kinds of daughters,” she shouted in Chinese. “Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter” (Amy Tan, 102).
This quote from the story shows that Jing-mei’s mom thinks there can only be two kinds of daughters, an obedient daughter and one who does her own thing. This shows how drastically different Jing-mei and her mother’s opinions are, while also relating to the tile of the story, which is “Two Kinds.” Secondly, the story “Two Kinds,” has some recurring symbols, the main one being the piano. In the story, Jing-mei’s mother forces her to learn how to play the piano and the majority of the story revolves around that conflict. The piano is seen as a sort of barrier between Jing-mei and her mom, wedging a gap between them for Jing-mei’s mom wants her to become a piano prodigy and Jing-mei doesn’t want anything to do with it.”Why don’t you like me the way I am? I’m not a genius! I can’t play the piano.
And even if I could, I wouldn’t go on TV if you paid me a million dollars!” I cried” (Amy Tan, 98). “A few years ago, she offered to give me the piano, for my thirtieth birthday. I had not played in years. I saw the offer as a sign of forgiveness, a tremendous burden removed” (Amy Tan, 103).In these two quotes, we see two different examples of how the piano is a recurring symbol.
The piano is a point of conflict towards the beginning of the story, but at the end is seen as a symbol of truce between the two characters. The symbol of the piano shows that Jing-mei wanted a different life than that of playing piano, whereas her mother wanted her to be a piano prodigy, something Jing-mei wanted nothing to do with, she wanted to be someone different than who her mother wanted her to be. Thirdly, we can see through the characters that sometimes people want you to be different than who you want to be. The two main characters in this story, Jing-mei and Jing-mei’s mom are both very different in personality. Jing-mei tends to be more rebellious and carefree, while her mother is very traditional and proud.
Both of these personality types tend to buttheads a whole lot throughout the story. It adds a tone to the conflict, but also relates back to the theme because Jing-mei’s mom wants Jing-mei to be someone that she doesn’t want to be.”I didn’t have to do what my mother said anymore. I wasn’t her slave. This wasn’t China. I had listened to her before and look what happened.
She was the stupid one” (Amy Tan, 101). “Just like you, she said. “Not the best.” Because you not trying.” She gave a little huff as she let go of the sound dial and sat down on the sofa” (Amy Tan, 98). These two quotes prove that Jing-mei and her mother are both very different.
The first quote shows that Jing-mei doesn’t want to follow her mother’s rules or be who her mom wanted her to be. The second piece of evidence shows that Jing-mei’s mom pushed Jing-mei to try her best, to be someone Jing-mei didn’t want to be. Finally, through the story’s point of view, we can see our theme. The story is told from the daughter, Jing-mei’s POV. We only get to experience one side to the story, and are really only able to see what Jing-mei thinks about her situation with her mother. Jing-mei doesn’t care what she becomes, she just doesn’t want to be what her mother wants.
“For unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me” (Amy Tan, 103)”You want me to be someone that I’m not!” I sobbed. “I’ll never be the kind of daughter you want me to be” (Amy Tan, 102). Both of these quotes show what Jing-mei thinks about herself and her situation with her mom. Jing-mei wants nothing to do with her mother’s vision of her future.
She wants to be her own person and to pave her own path, not the path her mother wants her to take, hence the theme. In “Two Kinds,” by Amy Tan, we can see that sometimes people want you to be someone different than who you want to be. The title, “Two Kinds,” refers to the theme because there are two kinds of people that Jing-mei and her mom want her to be. The person Jing-mei wants to be and the person her mother wants her to be.There are recurring symbols in this story, mainly the piano.
The piano is a large symbol and barrier to our two characters, for it drives this wedge between the two of them and their different expectations for Jing-mei’s future. The characters of this story are also hugely related to how people want you to be different than who you want to be. Both Jing-mei and Jing-mei’s mom are so different, always constantly butting-heads, differing on their opinions of who Jing-mei should be. And finally, the point of view plays a big part in the theme. We read the story through Jing-mei’s point of view and only see her side of the situation with her mom. We only hear her internal dialogue with herself and who she wants to be.
As observed through Jing-mei’s story, her mother tried to make her into something she was not. People will come and go and try to change us, but we need to stay true to ourselves and what we believe in. Put your foot down and say, “This is who I am. Accept it.”