In her essay Kate Bernheimer notes By telling her mother she wishes she were

In her essay kate bernheimer notes by telling her

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607). In her essay, Kate Bernheimer notes, “By telling her mother she wishes she were dead like her sisters, Jing-mei defines herself as separate from her mother; she claims her identity, but she abandons her mother to the horrors of her past.” This left the mother feeling very defeated and haunted by her past. Because of this, the mother never mentioned or required piano practice of her daughter again. At the end of the story, the mother gifts the piano to 30-year-old Jing-Mei. The mother says, “You could be genius if you want to,” (Tan 607) showing confidence and a continuation of a desire for her daughter to be successful. The mother is being genuine and trying to complement Jing-Mei however to Jing-Mei it still feels like her mother is trying to control her life. After both parents pass away, Jing-Mei sits down at the piano and pulls out her old recital music. She plays the song and notices the song on the next page. Jing-Mei takes note that the song is different but complementary to the one prior. Bernheimer goes on to say, “In playing the song, Jing-Mei is embracing the two sides of herself.” In this moment, Jing-Mei notices how difficult it was for her to develop a personal identity while being raised in a bicultural environment. Just like the music,
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the cultures are different, but complementary to the other. She needs the individualization of American culture to seek out her future, and she needs the zeal for success her mother extends from their Chinese culture. In Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds,” the characterization is intricately woven into this personal story. Through analysis of Tan’s life, it is evident that the characters and the storyline of “Two Kinds” reflect those of her personal experience. In “Two Kinds,” the protagonist is Jing-Mei, the daughter, the first person narrator. Her inner thoughts tell of her desires to be her own person and to not fall into her mother’s personal dreams for her life. Jing-Mei cries, “You want me to be someone that I’m not!” (Tan 606), vocalizing her desire for independence and self-discovery.. Jing-Mei experienced a common Western culture reaction to parental guidance or in some interpretation, parental control. As Radhika Mohanram wrote, “[Jing-Mei] demands an identity as separate from her mother, which clashes with her intense and fierce attachment to and sense of continuum with her mother’s life.” She does not want to live the life her mother chooses for her.
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