What does the mother say is her reason for pushing her daughter to take piano lessons and do you think the mother is right to do this?Explain the answerTWO KINDS BY AMY TAN

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan, the mother pushes her daughter to take piano lessons. She does this because she wants her daughter to be a famous musical prodigy. The mother has aspirations and dreams for her daughter. She wants her daughter to be somebody important. She desires for her daughter to make something of herself in life. She believes that in America one can become someone important and famous.

Also, the mother is in competition with Waverly's mother. Waverly is a famous chess player. She has won many trophies. Waverly's mother boasts about how she has so much work to do dusting the the trophies. This makes Jing-mei's mother jealous. The two mothers are in competition and this puts pressure on their daughters:

In this story, the narrator, Jing-mei, resists her overbearing mother's desire to make her into a musical prodigy in order to compete with one of her friend's daughters. The narrator recalls these events after a period of more than twenty years and still struggles to understand her mother's motivations.

While one can understand Jing-mei's mother desiring her daughter to be someone important, it is obvious that Jing-mei's mother puts too much pressure on her daughter. She pushes her daughter to play the piano when in fact Jing-mei has come to detest playing the piano. She does not apply herself. She rebels against her mother's wishes. There is a constant battle going on between Jing-mei and her mother. Possibly, Jing-mei's mother should have just given up on the idea of Jing-mei playing the piano. If a child is not interested in playing the piano, it is not worth the battle or struggle that it will take to keep up the piano lessons. Jing-mei's mother should have allowed her daughter to make a decision about finding a hobby that would help shape her own identity.

Even after Jing-mei embarrasses her mother at the piano recital, Jing-mei's mother insists that the piano lessons are continued. Only after Jing-mei hurts her mother by saying she wishes she had been a child left behind in China do the piano lessons stop:

Such a cruel and hurtful statement silences her mother and ends the piano lessons for good.

Finally, Jing-mei can find her own way in life. Often parents put too much pressure on their children. Jing-mei's mother is no exception. She pushes her daughter too far. She actually makes her daughter despise playing the piano. She is an overbearing mother who did not recognize how wonderful her daughter was just being herself. She should have accepted her daughter as she was. Instead, she forced her daughter to be someone she had imagined from the celebrity television shows and magazine articles.