Why are children, pianos, and bad mothers a recipe for disaster? Maggie Scarfs essay” The Beavers scale of Family health and Competence” may be able to answer this question that haunts many families. Maggie Scarf compared and contrasted many families and was able to come up with the Family scale that puts these families on 5 different levels. Level 5 being the worst while level 1 being the most docile and best family unit. Using Scarfs essay we will be able to help the reader understand the level 4 family type to explain Amy Tans essay called” Two Kinds” were Jing-Mei battles her mother for self-control and her own social freedom. Scarfs assertions from her essay will help us understand why the tyrant in level 4 families eventually loses control and why there is never any healing done on both sides of these types of families.
According to Scarf” [Polarized families] have nothing but inflexible black and white rules- rules designed not only to control the actions, but the thoughts and feelings of everyone within the intimate system” (4). In other words, there is no gray area or bending the rules. The family members are forced to follow with no ability to be themselves. In polarized families there is no way to fight back due to all the family members are emotionally like puppets on strings.
Scarf's passage about how Level 4 families help the reader understand Jing-Mei's resentment towards her mother. Jing-Mei has already shown that she is not talented or a genius but, Jing-Mei's mother insists that there is one thing that her daughter is good at. Jing-Mei asks her mother why she can’t be loved for who she is. Her mother responds stating that she only wants her daughter to be her best for herself. The word “inflexible” in Scarfs essay shows how constricted and rigid she is with her daughter. Her mother is unable to see what is in front of her, a sad girl who just doesn’t have the talent or want to be a piano player and forces her child to piano lessons against her will.
Scarf other claim is “Borderline families live in a polarized world of either/or: You're either in control or you’re out of control; you're either all bad or you're all good; you're either all right or you're wrong entirely” (4). Likewise, Families in this state are dominated or untamed. There is no middle you are either on the wining team or the losing team. In these families it’s either stick together or be left out. Almost like a pack of wolves it’s a very primal style of family.
This assertion about “polarized” families by Scarf explains the relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother and how eventually all this controlling would lead this family situation to be out of control. The experience of Jing-Mei fighting back after being forced to go back to play the piano even though she had failed at the talent showing us that Jing-Mei was “all bad” in her mother’s eyes. Jing-Mei also fought back demanding never to return...