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The mother wants to be able to be proud of her daughter for her own sake. She was not able to become something amazing herself, so she pushes her daughter to find something she can be great at. The daughter starts playing chess because it is fun and ends up being very good at it. She eventually makes it to a championship. She notices that her mother begins taking her everywhere and talking about her to everyone. The daughter begins to resent her mother because she is only using her to show off and make herself look good. This is why she later runs off in the story, only to return with her head hung low. The mothers only reaction is that she wasn't worried about her because the daughter wasn't worried about them. The mother is strict in her upbringing, but cares about her daughter.
In the chapter titled “Two Kinds” from Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the mother needs and/or desires various things from her daughter, including the following:
- She desires Jing-Mei’s total commitment to any goal the mother sets for Jing-Mei.
- She desires Jing-Mei’s cooperation and/or submission. As she phrases it,
“Only two kinds of daughers . . . . Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!”
- She desires to make her own daughter competitive with the daughter of one of her friends.
- She desires that Jing-Mei learn how to play the piano well enough to become famous and thereby enhance the mother’s social standing.
- She desires that Jing-Mei will play impressively during her first public concert.
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