Do you agree or disagree with the mother's goals in "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan?

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

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I think above all what is important to realise is the kind of situation that resulted in Jing-Mei's mother pushing her so much. Let us remember that she fled China, and saw America as a land where anything was possible. Consider what the opening of this story tells her about her character and what she has suffered:

America was where all my mother's hopes lay. she had come here in 1949 after losing everything in China: her mother and father, her family home, her first husband, and two daughters, twin baby girls. But she never looked back with regret. There were so many ways for things to get better.

We can thus understand, if not excuse, the kind of pressure that the mother puts on her daughter, and we must remember that America represented a blank canvas where you could make anything of your life, as she believed, if you just worked hard enough.

However, having said that, it is clear that whatever the mother's intentions and background, she does place Jing-Mei under too much pressure. Consider the daily tests that Jing-Mei is given, and then the pressure she is placed under and the sense of expectation when she begins her piano lessons. Whilst I think every parent should want the best for their children and should encourage them to pursue their areas of talent and interest, Jing-Mei's mother wants success over the happiness of her daughter, as this story clearly shows. Therefore I do not agree with the goal of Jing-Mei's mother, as it actually harms Jing-Mei and prevents her from developing naturally.

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