Describe Jing Mei's mother from the story, "Two Kinds."Specifically, what is her attitude?

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jessecreations eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jing Mei's mother is a woman straddling two cultures simultaneously.  On the one hand, she was born in China and still retains a lot of her traditional beliefs and Chinese heritage.  On the other hand, she has moved to America and is trying to assimilate to this newly-adopted culture.  Due to the atrocities she experienced in China, she wants to put that culture behind her.  However, she still behaves in many traditional ways, such as being conservative and insistent that her daughter focuses on education.

With Jing Mei, her mother is somewhat pushy.  Today, she might be called a "stage mom," because she pushes Jing Mei to be a performer. She wants Jing Mei to be the Chinese Shirley Temple, and she seems to give little credence to Jing Mei's goals or dreams.  She reminds Jing Mei that there are only two kinds of daughters, and it is clear that she expects Jing Mei to be the obedient kind, like she was as a girl. 

Though it may seem that Jing Mei's mother is overbearing or even mean, it is important to remember that her main goal is for her daughter to have more in life than she has had, and to suffer less than she had to suffer.  She feels that by making Jing Mei into a performer, she can give her a glamorous lifestyle and show the world what a special daughter she has.  It is easy to miss this part of the story because it is told from Jing Mei's reluctant perspective.