Two Kinds Character Analysis Essay

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In “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan, Jing-mei discovers herself though rebellion. As the daughter of an immigrant, she feels pressured by her mother to follow the American dream by being a child prodigy. However, as she fails at task after task, Jing-mei’s hopeful attitude shifts. Abandoning her positivity, she determines to underperform at everything she attempts. Jing-mei evolves from an optimistic girl to a spiteful rebel as a defense mechanism against her mother’s pressure, carrying her rebellious identity until she reaches peace later in adulthood. Initially, Jing-mei finds happiness in trying to realize her inner prodigy, but this state quickly changes. She begins “just as excited as my mother, maybe even more so,” eager to reveal her talents.…show more content…
Tired of disappointing herself and her mother, Jing-mei screams at her reflection in the mirror and suddenly sees “what seemed to be the prodigy side of me . . . angry, powerful.” In this moment, she uncovers her true self, a girl who excels at failure by choice. In this discovery, Jing-mei believes she unlocks the prodigy within her. Determining to rebel, she makes a decision with twofold significance. Her shift into disobedience provides an escape from the confines of her mother’s strict directions. Guided only by her mother, Jing-mei feels unable to unearth her own aspirations. By determining to disobey her mother, Jing-mei finding a path for herself in the only way she can: through directly opposing her mother. Furthermore, Jing-mei’s resistance illuminates a deeper psychological issue she experiences. Faced with repeated failure and the example of Waverly, a true prodigy, Jing-mei feels bombarded by disappointment. As a result, she rebels partially as a mental defense mechanism. By determining to fail intentionally, she attempts to shield herself from true failure. From her perspective, failures by choice represent only successes in her goal. Overall, feeling trapped and defenseless, Jing-mei transforms into a rebellious child to create her own identity and to shield herself from further
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