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Mothers and Daughters in Literature

            In Amy Tan's "Two Kinds," Jing-mei struggles with her mother's high expectations to be a youth prodigy through constantly bucking and opposing her mother's wishes. Along a similar path, the mother in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" holds practically the same high standards as the mother in "Two Kinds." In the short story "Two Kinds", it is made clear early in the story that the family immigrated to America from China to give their children a shot at the American dream. As Tan indicates with the quote from the mother saying "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" (305). This quote tells me right away that the mother's intentions are very pure even though she conveys it in a different way than most mothers would.
             A Chinese Shirley Temple. This was the first thing that the mother thought Jing-mei was destined to be. The story begs that in the beginning stages of Jing-meis inevitability to be a child prodigy, that she was, in fact, excited to become the perfect image her mother had made up for her. Illustrated in the following quote-"In all of my imaginings, I was filled with a sense that I would soon become perfect" (306). This mind set would soon take a complete turn for the worse, though. Soon, her mother would give her nightly tests that would seemingly bore Jing-mei, which would eventually lead to her not trying and giving up on her mother's dream of her being a child prodigy. The conflict soon comes into play when after months of her mother giving up on the fact that her daughter is a child prodigy, while watching the Ed Sullivan show, had the dream that Jing-mei is going to be great at piano. Soon enough, her mother had scheduled her piano lessons with a man from the first floor who is nearly deaf.

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