In the story "Two Kinds" how does the mother try to make the daughter a prodigy?  

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Jing-mei’s mother tries to make her a prodigy by having her take tests to determine her talent.  They finally settle on the piano.

Jing-mei’s mother wants her daughter to be successful, like many mothers do.  She wants Jing-mei to have a talent, so that she can learn the value of...

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Jing-mei’s mother tries to make her a prodigy by having her take tests to determine her talent.  They finally settle on the piano.

Jing-mei’s mother wants her daughter to be successful, like many mothers do.  She wants Jing-mei to have a talent, so that she can learn the value of hard work.  Jing-mei likes to think that talent means things come easily, and she is not all that interested in the hard work side of things.

The two try many potential talents to see which one will work best for Jing-mei.  They get ideas from watching television.

We didn't immediately pick the right kind of prodigy. At first my mother thought I could be a Chinese Shirley Temple. We'd watch Shirley's old movies on TV as though they were training films. My mother would poke my arm and say, "Ni kan.You watch." 

Shirley Temple seems appropriate, because anyone can cry.  The beauty school Shirley Temple haircut does not work out very well, however.  Jing-mei winds up with “an uneven mass of crinkly black fuzz.”  The instructor at the beauty school gives her a Peter Pan haircut. 

At first, Jing-mei is just as excited as her mother about the idea of becoming a prodigy.  When her mother learns of a little boy who knows all the states and capitals, she tries to quiz Jing-mei.  Geography is not Jing-mei’s talent.  Neither is mathematics, and she is no good at magic tricks.

And after seeing, once again, my mother's disappointed face, something inside me began to die. I hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations. Before going to bed that night I looked in the mirror above the bathroom sink, and I saw only my face staring back - and understood that it would always be this ordinary face - I began to cry.

Jing-mei does not understand that her mother is trying to teach her to appreciate hard work.  She expects to be instantly and effortlessly good at something.   When she isn’t, both of them seem to just give up.  Jing-mei finally ends up taking piano lessons, but the instructor is mostly deaf and has no idea that Jing-mei is not really practicing.  She embarrasses everyone at her recital, and that is the end of the prodigy.

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