Did you ever see something or someone on TV and wish you could be more like that? Or perhaps you watched a movie and were told, you can do that to, you can become a star and you thought "maybe I can, maybe I can be perfect." Ahhh, the word perfect, can anybody really be perfect? In Amy Tan's short story "Two Kinds" the mother wanted her daughter to be a prodigy, but she wanted to be perfect, flawless, impeccable. "Two Kinds" examines how media influence can alter a persons conception of self, and also convince a person (the mother in this story) that you have to be great at something in order to succeeded in life.
Media influence is everywhere, people perceive the image as the perfect look, or lifestyle. Many people believe that if you can do what a famous person is doing then you"ll be flawless, or live the absolute life too. Unfortunately, what most people don't see is the other side of things, the pressure from other people to be something their not and will never be, "And after seeing my mother's disappointed face once again, something inside me began to die" (1022). Jing -mei, the daughter in the story feels the need to be perfect in order to please her mother, who believes that ".you could be anything you wanted to be in America. You could open a restaurant. You could work for the government and get good retirement" (1020). But most of all her mother believed, "You could become instantly famous" (1020). .
The mother saw and read about child prodigies, and viewed them as success, they would be the ones to become famous and achieve wonderful things in life and her daughter would be one .
of them. Shirley Temple was the first image they tried, "We"d watch Shirley's old movies on TV as though they were training films" (1020). Jing-mei and her mother thought by changing her look she would be a wonderful actress, that one haircut could make you a star, adored by everyone much like Shirley was.