“‘I’m not a genius! I can’t play the piano. And even if I could, I wouldn’t go on TV if you paid me a million dollars!”’ (Tan 3). Jing-Mei’s mother forced her to play the piano. During the piano classes where Jing-Mei felt she had been “sent to hell”, her idleness, escape from mistakes, and her mother’s pride towards her are shown throughout the story in Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds”.
Initially, Jing-Mei is indolent and tries to evade from her errors if no one else can detect it. When the protagonist realized that Mr. Chongwas deaf, she became irresponsible towards piano class: “I also learned that I could be lazy and get away with my mistakes. If I hit the wrong notes because I hadn’t practiced enough, I never corrected myself, I just kept playing in rhythm” (Tan 4). Her thoughts in this situation revealed her lack of self-discipline when she found out that Old Cheng could not detect her errors in playing the piece. This shows her laziness because the fact that Mr. Chong is deaf gave her an opportunity to pass piano class luckily and effortlessly. This is what caused her to practice less while her wrong notes pass through Mr. Chong’s eyes. Therefore, Jing-Mei’s droning through piano classes revealed her idleness and escape from her responsibility and mistakes. On the other hand, her mother’s “foolish pride” towards her piano playing shows strong contrast with her dawdling in piano class. When Mom was bragging about her piano playing, she said,“‘Our problem worser than yours. If we ask Jing-mei to do the dish, she hear nothing but music. It’s like you can’t stop this natural talent”’ (5). In her mom’s response, her imagination of her ideal, prodigy-like daughter implies her overly high expectations towards Jing-Mei’s piano playing. Consequently, Mom forces Jing-Mei to play piano just for her to fulfill her own interests and gain prestige among other moms by showing off her child’s “talent”. This creates conflict between them. Since her overly high expectations blinded her, she sees Jing-Mei completely differently than what she is really like. In conclusion, Jing-Mei is faineant and neglects her mistakes in piano, and is overly expected from Mom.
“Two Kinds Summary.” Enotes.com, Enotes.com, www.enotes.com/topics/two-kinds.