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Is there any theme about love in "Two Kinds"?

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jyellise | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 14, 2011 at 1:40 AM via web

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Is there any theme about love in "Two Kinds"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 14, 2011 at 2:03 AM (Answer #1)

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I would definitely want to argue that there is. Let us remember that one of the key themes of this excellent short story is the relationship between the mother and daughter, and how the daughter has to fight for her own right to make her decisions. It is only through enduring this struggle and breaking free from her mother that Jing-Mei is able to fully love her mother, and her mother likewise is able to love Jing-Mei in return. Note what we are told about the gift of the piano that Jing-Mei's mother makes to her daughter:

So she surprised me. A few years ago, she offered to give me the piano, for my thirtieth birthday. I had not played in all those years. I saw the offer as a sign of forgiveness, a tremendous burden removed.

Although when she was a child, their relationship suffered a severe setback after Jing-Mei's disastrous rehearsal, the gift of the piano shows that the relationship has been restored, and that Jing-Mei's mother has learnt to love her daughter for who she is rather than who she would like her to be. This is why Jing-Mei calls the piano "a shiny trophy" that she had "won back." Thus this story discusses the theme of love and how love is something that involves accepting the other person for who they are.

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