The short stories “Rules of the Game” and “Two Kinds” share a common central idea. Both short stories resemble one another; Chinese families, a mother expectations, rebellious daughters etc. The central idea of the stories focus on a mother/daughter dynamic.
In “Rules of the Game” the main character is Waverly, Waverly's mother believes she is a key component during Waverly’s journey as a prodigy chess player. Even though the mother actually has no true role in Waverly's adventure, she continues to believe it is her as the one who is succeeding. This belief is a necessity for Waverly's mother because she has nothing for herself. Waverly's mother has to live through her daughter because of her own lack of success. Her mother is very prideful and forces a lot on Waverly so she can brag about her child. She uses her children to make her feel better about herself. Once Waverly begins to become a chess master, her mother shows her real character. There is a source of success, something that she has never experienced before. Waverly's mother has this strange belief that it is herself instead of Waverly who is the true source of success. An example of this is when she forces Waverly to wear the dress to her first actual chess match. She pushes herself into Waverly’s life as if it is hers.
In “Two Kinds” the main character is Jing-Mei, Jing Mei's mother lived an extremely difficult life in China. She pressures Jing Mei to excel in America where she believe you could be anything you wanted to be. The problem is that Jing Mei's mother defines success for her daughter as being exceptional at something. She pushes her daughter to do outrageous things to become a child prodigy. Discovering a powerful side of herself, Jing Mei resolves not to become something she is not simply to please her mother. After her mother sees a young Chinese girl on television playing the piano, Jing Mei must take piano lessons in order to live up to her mother’s expectations. Jing Mei must appear in a talent show to display her great talent. Her mother invites all of her friends. Jing Mei makes a fool of herself and embarrasses her family by playing terribly. A few days later while she watches television, her mother reminds her that it is time to practice.