Two Kinds Questions and Answers
by Amy Tan

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In "Two Kinds," what was purpose of Jing-mei's mother in offering to give her the piano on her 30th birthday? Jing-mei thought of it as a peace offering, but was that her mother's intent or was she still lost in her vision of creating a prodigy?

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Throughout the story, Jing-Mei and her mother engage in a battle of wills over her playing the piano. Once Jing-Mei completes her disastrous talent show performance, she assumes that she "would never have to play the piano again," but her mother treats her as if the fiasco had never happened. Jing-Mei argues that she isn't going to play the piano anymore, and she sees her mother's chest "heaving up and down in an angry way." She physically drags her on to the piano bench and declares that she will only accept an obedient daughter. When Jing-Mei says that she wishes she were dead like her mother's other babies from China, her mother is "stunned" and seems to blow away "like a small leaf."   

Jing-Mei says that she spent the next several years disappointing her mother, "asserting [her] will, [her] right to fall short of expectations." She could have gotten better...

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