Why does Jing-mei change her mind about becoming a prodigy in "Two Kinds"?

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At first, when Jing-mei's mother begins the search for the field in which her daughter would excel, she is "just as excited as [her] mother, maybe even more so." She imagines herself as a ballerina, the Christ child, and Cinderella, and she feels that she "would soon become perfect." She...

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At first, when Jing-mei's mother begins the search for the field in which her daughter would excel, she is "just as excited as [her] mother, maybe even more so." She imagines herself as a ballerina, the Christ child, and Cinderella, and she feels that she "would soon become perfect." She would be adored by all, "beyond reproach," and she would always feel happy and content within herself. However, the more her mother tests her, the more things they try, the more Jing-mei begins to feel that "something inside [her] began to die." She hates disappointing her mother, and she hates feeling like a let down. She looks in the mirror one night and sees her "ordinary face," understanding that she would always be ordinary, and she cries and wails and screams. In this moment, in her wildness, she sees "what seemed to be the prodigy" inside herself; she is "angry, powerful," and she begins to become more willful. She promises herself, "I won't be what I'm not." From then on, she pretends to be bored, and her mother finally begins to "give up hope." So, it isn't necessarily that Jing-mei gives up on being a prodigy, but she feels that she's found what she was good at: being willful and inflexible. She could excel here, and so she pursues it instead of the other somewhat more constructive pursuits her mother chooses.

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The fact is that Jing-Mei never really wanted to become a prodigy in the first place; she just wanted to please her pushy mother. Jing-Mei's mother, Suyuan Woo, is obsessed with the idea that America is a land where anything can happen, a place where children from poor immigrant backgrounds can achieve fame and fortune as prodigies. Like a lot of parents who drive on their kids to become successful, she's trying to compensate for the deficiencies of her own childhood.

Unfortunately for Suyuan Woo, Jing-Mei knows from the get-go that she's not prodigy material, no matter how hard her mother drives her on to succeed. Jing-Mei wants to be herself; she wants to live her life her own way without her mother's constant interference. In short, Jing-Mei's growing up, and like many young people her age, feels the need to assert her individuality.

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In the beginning of the story, Jing-mei is excited about being a prodigy.  However, when she does not seem to have a special talent she gets frustrated.  She does not want her mother to push her into anything.

Jing-mei might have been more open to the idea of being a prodigy if her mother had asked for input from her on what talents to try.  Her mother seems to just come up with a lot of random talents from stories of prodigies in magazines.   

The tests got harder - multiplying numbers in my head, finding the queen of hearts in a deck of cards, trying to stand on my head without using my hands, predicting the daily temperatures in Los angeles, New York, and London.

Jing-mei soon loses patience with her mother.  Jing-mei looks back at her reflection and realizes she is not the person she was.  Her mother is trying to change her.

The girl staring back at me was angry, powerful. She and I were the same. I had new thoughts, willful thoughts - or rather, thoughts filled with lots of won'ts. I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not. 

This is when Jing-mei gives up on the prodigy idea.  She tells herself that she is not going to try to learn the piano, because it is not who she is.  She is no longer willing to play along.

You can train someone, but you cannot make a person a prodigy.

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