In the story “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan, we are shown the struggles of a young girl Jing-Mei. Her struggle is that of a young girl growing up and trying to find her own sense of identity. Her troubles are compounded by her mother, who convinces her that she can become someone important. Because of her mother’s constant overbearing behavior, Jing-Mei does everything she can to annoy and displease her mother even to the point of being a failure. This fight to find her own identity against her mother’s wishes shows how parents cannot control their child’s life; they can only point them in the right direction and let them make their own choices.
In the onset of the story we find Jing-Mei’s mother convincing her that she “can be prodigy…” (491) and that she “can be best anything.” (491) Deciding that Jing-Mei’s destiny is to become a prodigy, her mother takes control and begins to push Jing-Mei towards this goal. At first Jing-Mei is, “just as excited as my mother, maybe even more so.” (491) By saying these things, Jing-Mei’s mother tries to create an ideal identity for her. Jing-Mei’s mother begins to test her with questions and she cooperates. But as time goes on and the tests her mother gives her gets harder, Jing-Mei begins to be resentful and unwilling to cooperate. She thinks to herself, “I won’t be what I’m not.” (492) This shows a child resisting it’s parents control.
Even as Jing-Mei loses interest in becoming a prodigy, her mother continues to push her