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Both the mother and daughter are unreasonable in “Two Kinds.” The mother wants her daughter to be something she is not, and the daughter will not give her mother a chance.
As an adult, June looks back at the feud between herself and her mother as a loss of communication. The two of them want something from each other, but they are both disappointed because they are not able to communicate their needs.
June (the Americanized version of Jing-mei) does not have any special talents. Her mother wants her to be successful, so she decides to make her a prodigy. At first, June is interested in trying to comply.
In fact, in the beginning I was just as excited as my mother, maybe even more so. I pictured this prodigy part of me as many different images, and I tried each one on for size.
June might have been more willing to learn to play the piano if her mother had not forced so many other talents on her first. As it was, she was sick of the whole thing by the time her mother traded house cleaning for piano lessons and practice with Mr. Chong.
Mr. Chong, it turns out, could not hear. So June once again had no incentive to learn the piano. However, June should have told her mother that her teacher was incompetent.
June’s mother was unreasonable when she pulled her daughter to the piano bench.
She snapped off the TV, yanked me by the arm and pulled me off the floor. She was frighteningly strong, half pulling, half carrying me towards the piano as I kicked the throw rugs under my feet.
However, June was unreasonable when she said she wished she was dead like her mother’s twin babies in China. This hurt June’s mother terribly, and in the end they both hurt each other irrevocably.
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