Fragility of Mother-Daughter Relationships

Essay by bookish12University, Bachelor'sB+, June 2014

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Fragility of Mother-Daughter Relationships

I chose the eighth paragraph on p. 381 of the story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan. I chose this passage because it shows the tense relationship between the narrator and her mother. The daughter's rebellion against her mother is evident in the passage. This passage is important because despite being responsible for her own failure, the narrator tries to find ways to blame her mother for her unhappiness. This passage occurs after the narrator's piano recital that ended disastrously. The narrator is having a hard time trying to come to terms with her shame and devastation. The passage also deals with the narrator's surprise regarding her mother's reaction on being a disappointment yet again.

The setting of the passage takes place in Chinatown, around the 1950's. The conflict between the narrator and her mother ultimately stems from the narrator's sense of failure and her mother's belief on perseverance.

For the most part of the passage, the mood presented is self-aware. The narrator is conscious of her mother's disappointment in her. Despite purposely defying her mother, the narrator was devastated upon seeing her mother's "quiet, blank look that said she had lost everything" (381). The line quoted is quite contradicting. A blank look suggests that the mother is keeping her emotions inside, yet her disappointment is still clear to the narrator. It also shows the influence her mother has on the narrator. Her mother's look of defeat mirrors the narrator's when she said "[she] felt the same way" (381) despite her assertion to not become what her mother is trying to mold her to be. The narrator's reaction to her mother's disappointment shows the origin of the narrator's defiance to her mother. It isn't that she hates her mother, but rather she hates coming up short to...