What are three possible themes for Two Kinds

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"Two Kinds" certainly seems to convey the theme that mothers want their children to achieve their potential, even when it is very difficult .  When Jing-Mei's mother buys her a piano and brings it home, she says, "'Who ask you to be a genius? . . . Only...

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"Two Kinds" certainly seems to convey the theme that mothers want their children to achieve their potential, even when it is very difficult.  When Jing-Mei's mother buys her a piano and brings it home, she says, "'Who ask you to be a genius? . . . Only ask you be your best.  For you sake."  She is interested in helping her daughter to be her best for her own sake.  In fact, Suyuan's resolve to make Jing-Mei continue to practice the piano after her talent show disaster seems to prove this.  She knows her daughter is not a prodigy, so it is not about showing her off.  She simply wants to teach Jing-Mei the value of practice, perseverance, and patience with herself.  In the end, when Suyuan offers the piano as a gift, Jing-mei says that she could not be a genius at the piano as her mother claims.  Suyuan says, "'You just not trying. . . .' And she was neither angry nor sad.  She said it as if announcing a fact that could never be disproved."  She only wanted to see her daughter try so that her daughter could see what she was actually capable of achieving.  Suyuan wanted to find any talents that Jing-Mei might have possessed so that she could help her daughter develop them. Of course, Jing-Mei interpreted this behavior differently at the time.  

This leads to another theme, namely, that children often misunderstand their parents' attempts to help them achieve their potential.  As a child, Jing-Mei felt that her mother was trying to perfect her and trying to make her something she was not.  She said, "I won't let her change me, I promised myself.  I won't be what I'm not."  She cries and asks her mother why she doesn't like Jing-mei the way she is.  As she ages, she feels that she "failed" her mother a number of times.  She says, "I didn't get straight As.  I didn't become class president.  I didn't get into Stanford.  I dropped out of college."  The daughter never understood her mother's motives as a child, and she does not seem to fully grasp them, even as an adult.

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One possible theme would be the theme of self identity.  Suyuan wants Jing Mei to be a one of a kind daughter/girl.  Suyuan wants her daughter to be a child prodigy.  She wants Jing Mei to be famous for being great at something.  Unfortunately, Suyuan pushes Jing Mei toward studies that Jing Mei has no passion for.  Jing Mei wants to be her own individual.  The battle comes to a head and ends badly with each character saying hurtful things.  

Another theme is the theme of growing up.  Jing Mei is getting older and more mature.  With that aging process comes her ability and desire to stand up to her mother.  The story illustrates the first time that Jing Mei stood her ground and won.  For Jing Mei it's the start of a new relationship with her mother.  

That new relationship leads me to the third theme.  The theme of a mother/daughter dynamic.  Suyuan believes that daughters should listen and obey their mothers without question.  Jing Mei doesn't agree with that.  The different attitudes cause tension between them and eventually causes a break.  The dynamic is thematic to the story and representative of a lot of teenage girl and mother relationships.  

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