In “Two Kinds” Jing-mei’s mother trades her house cleaning services for piano lessons with an old, deaf, retired piano teacher.
Jing-mei’s mother is convinced that her daughter has what it takes to be a prodigy. She tries several different talents, but none of them take. Finally, she sees a little girl on television playing the piano, and decides that her daughter should be a piano prodigy.
Jing-mei’s mother is not wealthy. She cleans houses for a living.
My mother got these magazines from people whose houses she cleaned. And since she cleaned many houses each week, we had a great assortment.
When she decides her daughter is going to play the piano, she cannot afford to hire a good piano teacher. Fortunately, there is a neighbor who used to teach piano.
Mr.Chong was a retired piano teacher, and my mother had traded housecleaning services for weekly lessons and a piano for me to practice on every day.
Unfortunately, Mr. Chong is deaf. He cannot really hear her play. As long as she goes through the motions, he gets lost in his own memory and assumes she is doing it right. As a result, Jing-mei never really learns how to play the piano.
If she had more money, Jing-mei's mother could have afforded a real piano teacher. However, Jing-mei does not appreciate the sacrifice her mother has made so that she can have everything her mother wants her to have.