Once one becomes part of the parents only club, one is expected to make the right decisions for one’s child. Which is, giving one’s child a chance at every possibility to obtain success. But, how much of it is truly for one’s child and how much is for one’s own personal fulfillment? In the short story by Amy Tran ‘Two kinds” we see into the life of a young Chinese American and her mother, who wishes for nothing less than her daughter to be a protege. As readers learn about how Mother goes about with this desire, one comes to question her motives.
Does she want this because she believes this is truly what her daughter needs or, does she want this for herself, in order to fill a void left by her past? This selfish desire causes a clash between mother and daughter. Accepting one has a problem is the hard, so one subconsciously stays in denial. When asked why Mother is so content in making Jing-Mae and genious, “My mother slapped me. ‘who ask you to be genius? ‘ she shouted. ‘Only ask you be you best. For you sake, You think I want you be genious? Hnnh! What for! Who ask you! “” (5).
Mother responds with anger and does not answer her devastated daughter because in fact she herself is not sure why. One is not compelled to believe Mothers reasoning given her obsession with success and past experience. Miscommunication with oneself is the beginning of all other conflicts, Mother is not true to herself and personal desires. The death a loved one leaves one to ponder and hope this was all for bigger plan. After experiencing the loss of everyone and everything she’s ever known, Mother believes America is where it will all get better.
America was where all my mother’s hopes lay, She had come to San Francisco in 1949 after losing everything in China: her mother and father, her family home, her first husband, and two daughters, twin baby girls. But she never looked back with regret. There were so many ways for things to get better” (1). With high expectations Mother believes her daughter will be nothing but extraordinary, she believes that’s where true fulfillment lies. With nothing else so hope and go towards Mother is determined to make something out of her current situation even if it means fighting her daughter for it.
Although believing in unlimited possibilities is considered a good thing, it can sometimes be a problem. because with possibility, comes expectation and disappointment. Determined and mesmerized by all the possibilities America has to offer, Mother wishes to grasp onto them. At the age of nine Jing-mei listens to her mother lecture about the many possibilities America offers, “You could open a restaurant. You could work for the government and get good retirement. You could buy a house with almost no money down. You could become rich.
You could become instantly famous.. ‘Of course, you can be prodigy, too” (1). Mother is obsessed with obtaining not one, but all of these opportunities, without considering what her daughter might want. This causes a ripple between the mother and her daughter, who is expected to make these wishes come true. A slap of reality brings one into terms with one’s inner self, to step back and realise all that has happen. Jing-Mae finally breaks and shattered her mother’s exterior in her last attempt to reach her, “then i wish i was wasn’t your daughter.
I wish you weren’t my mother,’ i shouted … Then i wish I’d never been born!.. I wish i were dead! Like them. ‘ It was as if i had said the magic words. Alakazam! -and her face went blank, her mouth closed, her arms went slack, and she backed out of the room, stunned, as if she were blown away like a small brown leaf, thin, brittle, lifeless” (10). With this Mother is snapped out of her blind obsession with constructing her daughter to be a prodigy and realises what she has been doing. Therefore mother stops trying to mold her daughter and gives up on her completely.
This proves Mother was not looking to better her child but herself but when she is confronted with reality she retreats completely. One comes to realise mother never really got over the grief of her family. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance; the five stages of grief which Mother undergoes in the short story. Mother finally overcomes the tremendous amount of grief which kept her from ever connecting with her daughter in her later years, “she offered to give me the piano, for my thirtieth birthday … I saw the offer as a sign of forgiveness. ” (11), completing the last stage of grief, acceptance.