"Two Kinds" is a fictional short story written by Amy Tan that tells of the trials and tribulations that a young girl and her mother experience when the girl feels that her mother is pushing her too hard to become a child prodigy. In the beginning of the story, Amy Tan provides the audience with just enough insight into the character Jing-mei in order for the audience to determine a few character traits that combine to make up Jing-mei's personality, which evolves throughout the course of the story.
Jing-mei has three prominent character traits that make up her strong-willed personality, and these traits are stubbornness, independence, and determination. The combinations of these three character traits are what aid in creating conflict in the story. Jing-mei's independence plays a major role in making up her personality. Jing-mei's mother wants her to be successful by being a child prodigy and Jing-mei does not feel that she needs her mother's help. Jing-mei feels that she can be successful through her own efforts, hard work, and determination. This is the reason why Jing-mei does not put her all into whatever activities that her mother selects for her to participate in. On page 97, paragraph 3, Jing-mei states, "So now on nights when my mother presented her tests, I performed listlessly."" This statement is an example of how Jing-mei reacts to her mother's efforts.
Another character trait of Jing-mei's which is probably the most significant is her pride. Jing-mei's pride drives her to refuse to subject herself to being dictated by her mother. Throughout the story whenever Jing-mei's mother makes a suggestion, Jing-mei goes out of her way to contradict or oppose her mother. This is an example of the immense amount of pride that Jing-mei possesses. Jing-mei lets her pride stand between herself and her mother. An example of this is Jing-mei's unwillingness to discuss her conflicts with her mother and her unwillingness to apologize to her mother.