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Symbolism in "Two Kinds". In "Two Kinds", Amy Tan uses symbolism to express the frustrating struggles between parents and children and the growing realization of individualism.

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Symbolism in "Two Kinds" For a lot of us growing up, our mothers have been an integral part of what made us who we are. They comfort us in times when nothing seems to go right. They forgive us when no one else can. They provide for our needs and know what is best for us. Most importantly, they love us with all of their hearts. In "Two Kinds", Amy Tan uses symbolism to express the frustrating struggles between parents and children and the growing realization of individualism. Jing-mei's mother "believed [that] you could be anything you wanted to be in America"(Tan 288). She came to America "after losing everything in China...But she never looked back with regret. There were so many ways for things to get better" (Tan 288). She came from China to seek a better life for herself as well as her daughter; her persistence for her daughter to be a prodigy is her way of stabilizing Jing-mei's life so that it does not turn out like hers. ...read more.


She sobs and says during an argument, "I'll never be the kind of daughter you want me to be!" She asks, "Why don't you like me the way I am?" (Tan 291). She begs her mother to accept her the way she is because she can not be someone she is not. Her desperation is also shown through the song, "Pleading Child"; it represents the stage in her life where she does not want to learn how to play the piano and consistently argues with her mother. She fights for her own beliefs and wants her mother to know that she can not live the life that her mother dreams of. As she struggles with herself to become her own person, she eventually decides that she is not going to let her mother change who she is, so she stops trying to be a prodigy by demonstrating her willfulness when she "performed listlessly," and "pretended to be bored," when presented with further tests (Tan 290). Her headstrong attitude continues to stand in the way and keeps her from successfully learning to play the piano. ...read more.


The audience look at her in a degrading way as if she commits a crime. Furthermore, when the show ends, people are coming up to her "like gawkers at the scene of an accident" (Tan 294). Tan compares the show with an accident scene in order to show readers that the audience stares at Jing-mei in disbelief because they can not believe that she plays so horribly in a confident manner. Lastly, the song Jing-mei plays at the end of the story represents the state she is in right now; she is finally in agreement with her mother and she is happy with who she is and what she has. The two songs she plays at the end both start with the same initials, "P.C."; the relationship between the two are revealed and the reader can see that they are closely connected to one another. Also, Amy Tan moves on from "Pleading Child" to "Perfectly Contented" in order to show the drastic transition in Jing-Mei's life; the author confirms the connection when she states, "I realized they were two halves of the same song" (Tan 296). In other words, they are two halves of the same person/life. ...read more.

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