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Two Kinds Of Interpretations Essay

1643 words - 7 pages

Often times mothers can be pushy, annoying, and a bit overbearing but in the long run they always just want what is best for their child. Everyone wants their child to be the best, most popular and overall number one. In Amy Tan’s short story “Two Kinds” we see this type of fame hungry mother. The short story is about a Chinese family who lost everything. The mother had lost her entire family full of children except for the one in the story. With the belief “you could be anything you want in America” (Tan 305) in mind the mother set off to find what her child can do. This ultimately will resort in disappointment for both the mother and child, as they do not share the same goals ...view middle of the document...

The question is does the mother want the fame for her daughter or the fame for herself?
The idea of being a prodigy was first introduced in the very first paragraph. The mother said to Jing Mei "Of course, you can be a prodigy, too,"(Tan 305). The paragraph then continues to talk about how America is full of opportunities. The mother then immediately tries to pick a talent for her daughter. She turned to the most famous little girl of the time the one and only Shirley Temple. In 1920s China when the mother presumably grew up there was no opportunity to be a ‘Shirley Temple’. Now that they were in America the possibilities were endless for her daughter. The mother thought this would be perfect for her as soon as she saw Shirley Temple cry on screen she said to her daughter “You already know how. Don't need talent for crying!"(Tan 305). This brought the mother over the edge she then stopped at nothing to try to bring her daughter to fame. She brought her daughter to the hair salon to try to acquire the looks of her new found “talent”. Unfortunately the daughter ended up with a “uneven mass of crinkly black fuzz”(Tan 305). This enraged the mother. She scowled at her daughter “as if [she] had done this on purpose”(Tan 305). The mother was so hurt that this fame was not a possibility for her daughter.
I interpret this infuriation as the mothers own dreams being crushed. The daughter was almost unfazed by not being able to be the next Shirley Temple but the mother did not handle it well. I think this is because the mother really wanted the fame for her daughter but more importantly for herself. It is not uncommon that when adults are not satisfied with their own lives the try to have their dream life through their children. I feel this is what the mother is trying to do. After Shirley Temple fell through the mother did not give up looking for her child’s chance at fame. Every night the mother would sit at the kitchen table and look through dozens of magazines. Then once the mother came across any stories of extraordinary children she would test her daughter. Every night the mother would test her daughter trying to find out how she could be a prodigy. The daughter said she would “[see] once again, my mother's disappointed face”(Tan 306). She would see that every night. The mother did not care that the child did not care to be a prodigy. All the mother cared about is that she wanted to be therefore the child’s wants were invalid. Finally the mother found something she could make her daughter do, piano. This could get her child fame and on television just like another little Chinese girl she found. The mother forced her daughter into playing piano for hours a day everyday. Eventually the daughter stepped up after she found out she was being imprisoned against her will by the piano, for hours a day, everyday.
“Why don't you like me the way I am?" I cried. "I'm not a genius! I can't play the piano. And even if I could,...

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