In the story "Two Kinds," the narrator is a Chinese-American girl who is locked in a struggle over her identity with her Chinese immigrant mother, who believes "that you could be anything you wanted to be in America." 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.
The idea for piano lessons comes from television and popular magazines. The narrator and her mother watch Shirley Temple movies and try to imagine her as...
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