Two Kinds an introduction "Two Kinds" is a quick story by Amy Tan the explores the conflict between Jing-mei, a first-generation American, and also her mother, a Chinese immigrant 

Jing-mei’s mom wants she to become a boy prodigy, but Jing-mei resents her mother’s lofty expectations.Jing-mei’s mommy arranges for she to take piano lessons, yet Jing-mei takes benefit of she teacher’s blindness and also deafness to stop practicing. Jing-mei performs terribly in ~ a talent contest, but her mom still insists that she keep practicing. Frustrated, Jing-mei exclaims that she wishes she to be dead, shocking her mother and also ending the effort to make her into a prodigy.
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“Two Kinds” is a short story by Amy Tan, and also it is among the 16 interconnected brief stories the comprises Tan’s novel The delight Luck Club. “Two Kinds” was first published separately as a brief story in Atlantic Monthly in 1989, one month before the publishing of The pleasure Luck Club. Much like Tan’s various other works, “Two Kinds” gift a semi-autobiographical look into the experiences of Chinese and Chinese American women, through a focus on intergenerational conflict. The protagonist, Jing-mei, is a first-generation American, and she narrates the story as a retrospective look back on her childhood in the wake up of she mother’s death. She mother, that immigrated come the United states from China in order come escape the Chinese Communist Revolution, pressured a young Jing-mei to come to be a kid prodigy. Jing-mei resented this pressure, and her relationship with her mommy was plagued by miscommunication and unspoken tension as a result.

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Plot Summary

“Two Kinds” is Jing-mei Woo"s have fun on she mother’s initiatives to do her right into a son prodigy. Jing-mei’s mother left China under traumatic scenarios in 1949, leaving behind her entire family, consisting of her 2 infant daughters. After stable in san Francisco, California, she completely embraced the perspective that something was possible in the joined States. She tried to instill this id in Jing-mei by informing her that she can be a kid prodigy.

Jing-mei’s mummy initial efforts to make Jing-mei right into a son prodigy involve trying to make her into a “Chinese Shirley Temple.” This results in Jing-mei receiving a “peter pan” haircut after an apprentice hairdresser falls short to provide her curls like Shirley Temple. Jing-mei dreams of one day becoming the “perfect” prodigal daughter the her mommy believes she can be. However, she issues that if she go not uncover her surprise talents soon, her inner prodigy will certainly “disappear” and she will “always be nothing” in her mother’s eyes. 

Every night after dinner, Jing-mei and also her mommy look at magazines special stories about amazing children. Jing-mei’s mommy quizzes she on various topics—including state and also national capitals, complicated mathematics, and also weather prediction—in wishes that she can possess a talent like the kids in the stories. As time passes, Jing-mei becomes significantly distressed through the “raised hopes and also failed expectations” the the quizzes represent. One night, she look at in the mirror and also is conquer with grief in ~ the vision of herself. She concerns that she will constantly be ordinary, and also considers it s her sad and ugly. However, this grief easily turns into anger, and also she embraces she feelings of resentment, vowing to never enable her mother to change her. 

From this point onwards, Jing-mei stops putting initiative into her mother’s tests, rather listlessly daydreaming till her mother provides up. Eventually, her mom stops bringing up Jing-mei’s apparent prodigious potential. All the changes, however, once her mom sees a young Chinese girl perform a piano recital on the Ed Sullivan Show. Jing-mei’s mother’s hopes for she daughter room rekindled through the resemblance in between the young piano prodigy top top the television and also Jing-mei. Jing-mei originally does not pay much attention to her mother’s newfound hopes, believing the their household is too bad to afford something together expensive together piano lessons. However her mommy is determined and also arranges to clean the apartment the Mr. Chong, a retirement piano instructor, in exchange for piano lessons for Jing-mei.

Jing-mei resents her mother’s actions and also refuses to take her piano great seriously. She easily learns that Mr. Chong is both hearing disabled and virtually blind, an interpretation that he is i can not qualify of assessing even if it is or not she is playing well. Jing-mei takes benefit of Mr. Chong’s inability to gauge she progress and also refuses to exercise or improve her playing. Jing-mei admits that, had she used herself, she may have actually end up being a kind pianist, but she was so identified not to “be anybody different” that she refuse to placed in the effort necessary to improve.

Approximately a year after ~ Jing-mei starts her lessons through Mr. Chong, she overhears her mother talking through her friend Lindo Jong after church. Lindo’s daughter Waverly is a chess prodigy who has actually earned minor reputation for she abilities, and also Lindo often brags around Waverly’s accomplishments. Jing-mei’s mom in-turn brags around Jing-mei’s an alleged musical prowess, which infuriates Jing-mei, as she knows her mother’s pride is misplaced. Quickly after, Jing-mei’s mother and Mr. Chong enter Jing-mei right into a talent competition at which she is expected to showcase she piano skills.

Jing-mei does not practice the piece she is an alleged to play because that the talent show, rather spending she time daydreaming and practicing the elegant curtsey the accompanies the performance. Her parents invite all of their friends come the talent display to evil Jing-mei’s music debut. Jing-mei is no nervous, in spite of not having practiced at all, confident that her long-awaited inner prodigy will certainly emerge during the performance. She imagines the audience offering her a was standing ovation and daydreams about appearing ~ above the Ed Sullivan show. However, she confidence proves misplaced; her performance is disastrous, and also both Jing-mei and also her parents are humiliated.

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Jing-mei security the ride residence from the talent present waiting for her mother to yell at her. However, the fury she expected never ever comes. Instead, her mom resumes life as though nothing had actually happened. Jing-mei is shocked when, two days later, her mom expects she to proceed practicing the piano. Jing-mei supposed the destructive talent present to represent the finish of she piano lessons, and she is frustrated by her mother’s insistence the she proceed practicing. Jing-mei defiantly refuses to start her piano practice, prompting her mom to physically force her towards the piano. 

Jing-mei frustratedly exclaims that she will never ever be the kind of daughter that her mommy wants her to be, come which her mom responds the there are just two types of daughters: those who room obedient and also those who room willful. Jing-mei’s mom asserts that just obedient daughters space welcome in her house. Jing-mei angrily exclaims the she desire she wasn’t her mother’s daughter. Sensing she mother’s mounting anger, Jing-mei decides to press her end the edge; she shouts the she wishes she was dead, similar to the child daughters her mother had actually been forced to leave behind in China. This eight stuns she mother right into silence, and from that allude on, her mommy never pressures her to exercise the piano again. 

Jing-mei remarks the she has due to the fact that disappointed her mom in a selection of ways, consisting of by dropping out of college. However, they have never debated either the damaging piano recital or the discussion that took location in the aftermath. Jing-mei assumes that her mom has given up top top her, but on her thirtieth birthday, Jing-mei’s mom offers her the piano castle bought for her once she to be young, express her id that if Jing-mei for this reason chose, she might still “be a genius.” Jing-mei see this interaction as a authorize of forgiveness and also reconciliation, and she feels together though she has reclaimed a “shiny trophy.”

In the results of she mother’s death, Jing-mei helps her father fill up she mother’s belongings. Jing-mei handles the items through care, and she rental a tuner come recondition the old piano. She opens up her old music books and also attempts to play the piece she performed at the recital, Schumann’s “Pleading Child.” She then notices the piece on the opposite web page of the book, “Perfectly Contented.” After playing both song a couple of times, she pertains to recognize lock as 2 halves that the exact same song.