Theme Analysis of Two Kinds by Amy Tan

Two Kinds by Amy Tan

The central theme in the story “Two kinds” is the mother-daughter conflict. Mrs. Woo and her daughter appear to be at different places whereby the mother wants one thing for her daughter, whereas Jing is not in favor of it. Such an occurrence is quite common these days. Mrs. Woo had moved to the United States with her daughter, and she believed in attaining the American dream. She had absolute faith that Jing could be a prodigy in anything she wanted with a little bit of luck and hard work. 

The problem when a parent is over controlling the path that their child should take, the child becomes determined at thwarting the parent’s ambitions. Mrs. Woo began with trying to mold Jing into an actress, but it did not work. Finally, she was convinced that her daughter would become a piano virtuoso, and she bought her a second-hand piano. “Why don’t you like me the way I am? I’m not a genius! I can’t play the piano (Tan 2).” Jing uttered this word because she felt as though her mother did not appreciate her as she was and did not want her to discover herself.

The story reminds me of the dispute I once had with my parents when I wanted to pursue music in college, but my father wanted me to be major in economics. My father always saw a great career person in me, and since his brother was an economist, he believed I would do well in that field. But I had a different idea in mind. I loved being to be part of a great band that was already set (a couple of my friends). We all aspired to go to a music school before embarking on our music careers. I tried inviting my parents to events where I performed for them to see how talented I was and perhaps earn their approval and support. Unfortunately, my father still held on to his perception that music has no future in comparison to being an economist. This resulted in my drifting away from my parents since I felt as though my desires never meant a thing to them. I did agree to pursue an economics course but made sure I performed poorly to the extent that my father had to take me to a music school. Usually, when there is a conflict between parent and child over the path that a child’s future should take, the young adult concludes that he or she is not appreciated. The same happened between Jing and Mrs. Woo, and they never really got to enjoy their mother-daughter bond.

 Students’ response

Student A confirms to have had parents that were hard on her but not as much as Mrs. Woo was to Jing. Her parents were willing to put her in any sport or athletic activity for this student’s case. I agree with the student that this story relates to real-life situations in many households. At a younger age, children feel pressured, but as they become of age, they come to understand that their parents were hard on them to become better versions of themselves.

I concur with student D that conflict can influence a person’s drive and decision by either motivating them to become better or turning the other way causing more harm than good. In the story “Two Kinds,” the parent-child conflict pushed Jing away from her mother’s dreams of her.

Works Cited

Tan, Amy. Two Kinds. Penguin, 2006. Accessed 17 Sept. 2020.

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