This story centers on the idea figuring out what is best for someone else. This is often a major conflict between parents and their children. One side tries to show the other that their way is best and it should be taken seriously. Sadly if the other side does not comply or does not fully comprehend then chaos is sure to follow after. It is only when both sides can reason with each other that suitable solution is found that satisfies both ends.
In “Two Kinds” the protagonist, Jing Mei, is the daughter of a woman whose life has been filled with hardship and sacrifice. She wants the best for her daughter and wants her to have a better life for the future. She feels her method of testing and pushing her daughter to be the best will help her to succeed and bring her dream to reality. At a young age Jing is willing and compliant to follow but as she grows she begins to develop a sense of individuality that is conflicting with her mother’s wishes. It soon becomes a battle of Chinese driven work ethic versus American style individuality. Jing’s rebellious spirit wins out the power struggle at the disappointment of her mother as she has failed as an influence. For a while their relationship is uneasy until the mother reintroduces the piano to Jing but not as a means of forcing it upon her. The mother explains that she can still play the piano because it has become part of her, it is her identity. Jing realizes that her mother wanted to bring out Jing’s own identity all along in order for her to have her own success in the future.