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Two Kinds By Amy Tan Essay

653 words - 3 pages


In “Two Kinds,” Amy Tan explores a theme of independence. Jing-me is an impressionable nine year old girl living in an apartment with her parents. She struggles with the high expectations of her mother, to become a prodigy. The conflict results in a rebellious independence. Tan develops Jing-me’s character as willful, defiant, and insecure.

To begin, Tan demonstrates that Jing-me’s willfulness stands in the way of her success. For example, after failing many of her mothers prodigy tests, she begins to hate them. One night after another failed test, she adopted “new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lots of won’ts” (Tan 596). Jing-me decides that she is not going to let her mother change who she is, so she stops trying to be a prodigy. She demonstrates her willfulness when she “performed listlessly,” and “pretended to be bored,” when presented with further tests (596). Jing-me’s headstrong attitude continues to stand in the way and keeps her from successfully learning to play the piano. She “was determined not to try, not to be anybody different” that she sabotaged her lessons (598). Jing-me’s attitude also accompanies her into her adult years. She fails many more times, asserting her own will, her “right to fall short of expectations” (602). Although Jing-me attempted to become a prodigy, ultimately it is her willfulness that hampers her success.

Further, Tan depicts Jing-me as defiant in the face of her mother’s expectations for her. This defiant attitude can be seen when Jing-me finds out that she will be taking piano lessons from Mr. Chong. She throws a fit and asks her mother “Why don’t you like me the way I am?” (597). While at the piano lessons she further shows her defiance of her mother’s expectations when she learns that she can “be lazy and get away with mistakes, lots of mistakes” (598). Jing-me is upset with her mother for forcing her to take lessons, so she gets back at her by making a minimal effort to...

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