What does the piano represent in "Two Kinds"?
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In "Two Kinds," the piano represents a type of trophy. Jing-mei's mother has a desire to make her daughter into something she is not. Also, the piano represents the struggle between a mother and daughter. Jing-Mei does not desire to play the piano. Her mother is determined that she will play like a star child prodigy she has seen on television:
This particular struggle invokes the mother's attempt to mold her daughter, Jing-mei, into a musical prodigy so that she will be able to brag to her friend Lindo Jong, whose daughter is a precocious chess champion.
For years, Jing-Mei and her mother struggle because her mother is so determined to make her daughter into something she is not. Jing-Mei's mother desires to have bragging rights in a type of competition with Lindo's daughter who is a chess champion.
The piano recital is Jing-Mei's chess board. The piano is a type of trophy that Jing-Mei's mother can have as a symbol of her daughter's accomplishment. In much the same way that Lindo brags over her daughter's chess trophies, Jing-Mei's mother desires to boast about her daughter's musical trophies.
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