In keeping with the theme of dynamics in mother-daughter relationships, Jing-Mei’s father plays only a minor role in “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan.
The author focuses on the interpersonal relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother while the father remains uninvolved. The mother endured unimaginable hardships in her homeland of China including losing her first husband and twin baby daughters. In America she hopes that her daughter will achieve the American Dream. Her husband does not involve himself in the volatile relationship between the two females; he remains a silent observer. The author’s purpose of examining the female relationships does not include a description of the father’s emotional reaction to his wife and daughter.
He does attend Jing-Mei’s recital. After her abysmal performance, she can feel the shame of both of her parents.
And now I realized how many people were in the audience - the whole world, it seemed. I was aware of eyes burning into my back. I felt the shame of my mother and father as they sat stiffly through the rest of the show.
Curiously, on the bus ride home her father hums a tune while his wife remains silent. This is another indication that he intends to stay out of the aftermath, once again emphasizing the minor role he plays in the theme of the story.