Two kinds Themes The key themes in “Two Kinds” room parental expectations, the American Dream, and also identity. 

Parental expectations: The disconnect in between Jing-mei’s desires and also her mummy expectations leader to conflict and resentment. The American Dream: Jing-mei and also her mother have disparate version of what the American Dream is, with Jing-mei’s mom dreaming that success and also prosperity, while Jing-mei embraces individuality and also freedom.Identity: Jing-mei’s battle to continue to be true to it s her highlights the generational and social gap between herself and her mother.

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critical Updated on respectable 3, 2020, by Editorial. Native Count: 914

Parental Expectations

Parents, and perhaps specifically immigrant parents, often project their own desires and hopes onto their children. Typically, such projections stem native the desire because that their children to have good lives, and Jing-mei’s mother remarks the she only ever before wanted Jing-mei to try her hardest because that her very own sake. Jing-mei’s mommy sacrificed whatever in bespeak to come to the united States, and also understandably, she desires Jing-mei to take benefit of the opportunities available to her. However, her insistence the Jing-mei be successful and talented regularly comes across as self-serving, as with her vain bragging through Lindo Jong. Jing-mei comes to resent the idea that her mommy is utilizing her to bolster her own sense the “foolish pride,” and she sets out to “put a avoid to it.” 


Jing-mei walk not start out resentful of she mother’s hopes for her. She is originally excited by the possibility of gift a boy prodigy and dreams that someday becoming the “perfect” daughter whom anyone loves and also admires. However, she mother’s high expectation eventually come to be burdensome and also negatively impact Jing-mei’s self-esteem. She views her lack of obvious genius as a resource of failure and also disappointment. Her grief over recognizing herself together “ordinary” transforms into anger towards her mother, whose expectations were so lofty that Jing-mei to trust they could only ever have been disappointed. Ultimately, return Jing-mei’s mom only want what was best for her daughter, her belief in Jing-mei’s potential genius only served to damages their relationship and also discourage Jing-mei from putting effort into anything. Their story hence highlights the threats of parental expectation that room out of sync through children’s desires. 

The American Dream

The American Dream has actually beckoned immigrants to the United claims for generations, with guarantees of wealth, prosperity, equality, and also opportunity. Civilization like Jing-mei’s mother, who are fleeing violent and dangerous circumstances, check out the United says as a soil of boundless possibilities. This leads many immigrant parental to host their youngsters to incredibly high criter so the they can take benefit of the opportunities that their parents did not have. As a result, many immigrants cherish the American Dream not so lot for themselves however for your children. Jing-mei’s mother left behind everything—her parents, she husband, she home, and her child daughters—to concerned the unified States, and also so she places all of her really hopes for the future on Jing-mei. Jing-mei remarks that her mom “never looked ago with regret” on she past, highlighting just just how much faith her mother has in the American Dream. 

Jing-mei struggles to know her mother’s id that something is possible in the united States. Top top account of having been born and raised as an American, Jing-mei go not have the same connection to the American Dream as her parents. Instead, she understands the limitations present in American society and struggles to define herself as an individual in ~ a Chinese cultural enclave that needs obedience and also respect from children. Because that Jing-mei, the American Dream has actually less to perform with product wealth or standing and an ext to perform with expression of individuality and also the appropriate to it is in unapologetically herself. 


Themes of an individual and cultural identity are central to numerous immigrant narratives, as human being endeavor to balance their existing sense of self through their new surroundings. This challenge is only exacerbated by intergenerational differences, as kids born in the unified States often struggle come feel connected to the customs and values of their parents. For Jing-mei’s mother, living in the United states is a dream that she fought and sacrificed for; therefore, she desire for Jing-mei to end up being an American success story is deeply rooted in her identification as an immigrant. Because that all the she worths the avenues presented by life in the unified States, Jing-mei’s mother likewise maintains numerous of her culturally Chinese values and customs, expecting obedience from her daughter and also refusing to discuss her personal traumas and emotions. 

By contrast, Jing-mei battles to called to she mother’s values and also ways the communicating. She cannot know her mummy fixation on having actually her come to be a child prodigy since she to be born in the united States and does not regard it with the very same sense the boundless possibility that her mother does. Jing-mei illustration the struggle of countless first-generation americans to balance their ethnic heritage v their American values. The struggle is frequently twofold, as their racial identification bars lock from fitting in with White American society, while their Americanized values protect against them from identifying completely with your parents’ culture. 

The theme of identification in “Two Kinds” is also explored at the level of the individual. Once it becomes clear the she is not a child prodigy, Jing-mei becomes fixated on developing a sense of identification that is divorced from her mother’s lofty expectations. Together a result, she comes to value the “right to fall brief of expectations” and also refuses to put effort into playing the piano ~ above the principle that she does no wish to it is in anything various other than what she is. Quite than striving to you re welcome her mother or obtain the approval that others, Jing-mei decides not to allow anyone else adjust her. Though she stubborn insistence avoids her from ending up being a piano prodigy or graduating college, it additionally gives she the important strength to carve out her own identification in a civilization that asks her to specify herself based on fabricated notions that success. 

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