Two Kinds- Amy Tan

From my understanding of the story, the narrator’s mother was an overbearing mother who saw potential in her daughter. Due to the wars in 1949, the mother left China because she lost everything back in China. Before the war, she had a husband, two daughters, mother and father who died during the tyranny in China. The narrator’s mother remarried and gave birth to another daughter. She made sure that she will do anything in her power to make her daughter become productive in life. The narrator’s mother called her daughter her own child prodigy. They would watch the “Chinese Shirley Temple” as practice to established what was talent. While watching the Ed Sullivan show, another child prodigy came on the show and played the piano. The talent in that child enlightened the mother in purchasing a piano so that Ni Kan would able to play just as good as the girl on TV. The narrator’s mother hired Mr. Chong aka Old Chong to tutor Ni Kan in piano lessons. Like Ni Kan who is impatient when it came to her studies, took advantage of Old Chong disabilities such as partially blind and have bad hearing. Ni would play incorrect notes during her sessions because she knew that Old Chong would say that everything she was doing is correct. The narrator’s mother signed her up for school talent show thinking with all the practicing she have been doing, she would be a semi expert pianist. At the talent show, they ran into Auntie Lindo, Uncle Tin, cousin Waverly. Ni and Waverly have been rivals since birth and this talent show would prove whose the better child. During Waverly performance, she was flawless. As for Ni, she became confident with lack of experience. She believe that since her mother have been calling her a prodigy, they prodigy in her would come out during her performance. When she got on the piano, she played a couple notes and everything went well until she missed one note. She thought no one noticed but everyone did. That perfect pitch she was hearing in her mind was only her confidence blinding her. Old Chong applauded her but he is partially deaf. The embarrassment that the narrator had was nothing but straight disappointment. She locked herself in the room and didn’t say anything to anyone. One day while Ni is watching TV during her practice time, The mother yelled at her and Ni responded by saying ” you want me to be someone that I’m not!” Ni felt like her mom pressures her harder than any parent does due to the fact she lost her two girls in China. “Only two kinds of daughters…Those who are obedient and those who follow their own! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient Daughter!” Years later after that fight, Ni’s mother pasted and the piano still stayed at her parent’s house. Ni tuned up the piano and one day found herself playing “Perfectly Contented and Pleading Child”. By the way she was playing, you would never knew that she stopped playing all those years. Ni Kan finally realized the potential her mother saw all those years ago.

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