How does the mother's reproach in "Two Kinds" surprise the daughter?  

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the daughter in the Amy Tan short story "Two Kinds" plays the piano badly at the talent show, her mother does not say anything right away. Instead, the mother wears "a quiet, blank look that said she had lost everything" (page numbers vary by edition). After they arrive home, the mother does not accuse or blame the daughter, though the daughter wishes she would so that she can start to cry and blame her mother for her failure. Instead, the mother simply turns off the TV at 4 o'clock and reminds the daughter that it's time to practice the piano. The daughter reacts angrily, and even says that she wishes she were not the mother's daughter.

The mother's reproach surprises the daughter because the daughter expects blame and castigation. Instead, the mother quietly insists that the daughter continue to practice. All along, the mother has only wanted the daughter to show hard work, while the daughter feels like the mother expects perfection from her.