Especially when your reality is built up on dreams. Which is the case in Tan's "Two Kinds." In this story, Jing-mei, is a young Chinese girl growing up in America. Her mother, who traveled to the states in 1949, had great expectations for her daughter. She had dreams of her becoming the next child prodigy. Although she had plans for her daughter, Jing-mei just wouldn't have it. The mother had a very strong belief that you could be anything you wanted to be in America. Jing-mei on the other hand, believed she could only be herself. Jing-mei continued to live her life always disappointing her mother and failing her many times.
In the first paragraph of the story, the tone starts out rather encouraging. The narrator, Jing-mei, begins by explaining how you could do this, or you could do that in America. You can be anything you want to be; was the belief of her mother. Soon after, it fades into a much more disappointing tone that seems to lack hope. This story seems to fit a typical Asian-American family building a life for themselves after fleeing from their homeland. The mother had left her home after losing everything and everyone dear to her. She came to the states where she had many hopes and dreams. She placed her daughter on a pedestal. She seemed to only want the best for Jing-mei. Jing-mei's mother pushed her so hard that she could not stand it anymore and rebelled. There was much conflict between Jing-mei and her mother. Their relationship seems to be that of a stereotypical first and second generation Asian-American family. .
There is also the tension between young Jing-mei and her oh so talented cousin Waverly. Waverly, Chinatown's chess champion, seems to be little miss perfect where as Jing-mei can never do anything right. I find it somewhat ironic that Waverly's mother complains of her multiple trophies and awards and even says to Jing-mei's mother that she's lucky she doesn't have that problem.