What is the significance of the twins baby girls in the short story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the narrator's mother arrives in San Francisco in 1949, she has left behind a life a tragedy in China. Her entire family perished there, including her parents, her first husband, and her twin girls. The girls stand for everything that she has lost and all the hopes she has now transferred to her life in the United States. The mother hopes that her daughter, Jing-Mei, will in some ways make up for what she lost in China by becoming a prodigy and that her daughter will live up to the promise of America. The loss of her twin girls motivates the mother to put all her hopes and dreams onto her daughter, and she burdens Jing-Mei with the expectation that she will become something great merely because she exists in a country that offers a great deal of opportunity.