In what ways does the mother pressure her daughter to change in"Two Kinds" by Amy Tan?

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First of all, the pressure placed by the mother on her daughter in "Two Kinds " relates to the talents of her daughter. Specifically, the mother wants her daughter to become a prodigy in a number of areas. These areas include having the singing, acting, and dancing talent of...

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First of all, the pressure placed by the mother on her daughter in "Two Kinds" relates to the talents of her daughter. Specifically, the mother wants her daughter to become a prodigy in a number of areas. These areas include having the singing, acting, and dancing talent of Shirley Temple, and being able to perform great feats, relating to multiplication and knowing the capitals of the world's countries, like the children in a magazine. Later in the story, the mother pressures her daughter into becoming a piano prodigy.

In addition, the mother's pressures also relate to sharing the same expectations and aspirations for the future. The mother, for example, believes that anybody can be successful in America and she fully expects that her daughter will share this same view. Moreover, she also expects her daughter to want to become a child prodigy, even though she protests time and time again.

It is this maternal pressure which contributes to the central conflict of the story in which mother and daughter must overcome their opposing viewpoints in order to resume a healthy relationship.

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Jing-mei's mother pressures her to change by insisting that Jing-mei "'can be a prodigy, too [...]. You can be best anything,'" she says. Firstly, her mother wants her to be "a Chinese Shirley Temple": she forced Jing-mei to watch Shirley Temple's movies and took her to a beauty training school to get a similar haircut (which did not work out as expected). Jing-mei's mother gave her test after test, looking for the way in which her daughter could stand out, and even Jing-mei hoped that she "would soon become perfect." She wanted her parents to adore her, and she wanted to be beyond reproach in every way. Other times, Jing-mei doubted the process and feared that she'd "'always be nothing.'" The tests got harder and harder, and Jing-mei started to develop an awareness that she was letting her mother down with each new failure; each let-down added to the pressure. One night, "after seeing, once again, [her] mother's disappointed face, something inside [Jing-mei] began to die." She stops trying, and her mother says that this lack of effort is the reason Jing-mei is not the best. Her mother makes it seem as though only "the best" is sufficient, and this is some pretty intense pressure to put on a young child, a child who now feels that she'll never be good enough to please her mother.

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I can think of three ways that I believe Jing-mei's mother pressures her.  

The first type of pressure is the parental pressure that children in families all around the world experience. Jing-mei's mother wants her to do something and do it well. Most kids love to make their parents happy, and Jing-mei feels pressure to try to do so. At first, Jing-mei is excited about it, too.

The second type of pressure is a comparison pressure. Jing-mei's mother sees other child prodigies in the world, and she believes her daughter should be similar. Jing-mei feels this belief essentially says, "You're not good enough the way you are." Jing-mei feels like she needs to do something really well to earn her mother's approval.

The third type of pressure applied by Jing-mei's mother is the pressure of audience and potential public humiliation. This occurs when Jing-mei's mother has several of her friends over to listen to Jing-mei play the piano. She does this with the hope that Jing-mei will be pressured into better practice and better performance out of fear of humiliating herself in front of people.

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