Amy Tan’s “Two kinds” is a very appealing short story which depicts a complex relationship between a traditional Chinese mother and her Americanized daughter.
The mother and her daughter are culturally speaking very distant. Even though the author, Amy Tan portrays the mother as someone who lacks emotions and is overly ambitious, I fail to sympathize with the narrator, from whose perspective the story is told. In my opinion, Jing-mei, the daughter, is simply too ungrateful for all that her mother does for her. The mother comes from China to the Promised Land hoping that her offspring may be able to achieve and live so desperately desired American dream. She cleans houses to provide for her only child, and yet, her child is nothing but a spoiled brat who thinks she should be allowed an absolute freedom over her life. I know this is something deeply rooted in American culture, but I truly disagree with it. While I do believe that the children shouldn’t be forced to be someone they aren’t, I equally believe that if given a chance to choose too much, they would end up on the street. The mother doesn’t choose the best approach and appears somewhat naïve when takes her daughter to get a perm in order to look like a child actor Shirley Temple, but it’s all done with her best intentions. I think all of us have some hidden talents. Her mother shares this view and attempts to discover her daughter’s talents. Eventually, she succeeds in it, but her daughter is too rebellious to accept the fact that she is a good pianist and does everything to ruin her future prospects.
Later in her life, Jing-mei realizes her wrongdoings but it’s a little too late. Her loving mother is already dead.