How are the mother and daughter from "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan the same and how are they different?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jing-mei is similar to her mother in that she wants to be successful, and she wants to get along with her mother.  However, she is also different from her mother because she wants to make her own choices and be her own person, and not blindly follow her mother. Both mother and daughter are very stubborn.

Jing-mei (June) looks back on the experience of trying to please her mother.  She describes the incident with the piano as a prime example of how she and her mother do not see eye to eye.  Get it is also an example of how they tried to work with each other, without really communicating.

Jing-mei’s mother tries a variety of different talents before settling on the piano.  Jing-mei’s mother also tries many talents, discarding one as it does not work for Jing-mei.

In fact, in the beginning I was just as excited as my mother, maybe even more so. I pictured this prodigy part of me as many different images, and I tried each one on for size.

This shows that Jing-mei and her mother are not as far apart as they may think.  The problem is that Jing-mei’s mother never asks her opinion, and never asks her what talent she’d like to try to learn.  As her adult self, Jing-mei notes that she could have been a good piano player.

 I did pick up the basics pretty quickly, and I might have become a good pianist at the young age. But I was so determined not to try, not to be anybody different…

This is an example of the stubborn nature of both mother and daughter.  Neither is willing to give an inch.  If they had talked to each other, they might have been more successful.

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