A Summary of Amy Tan's "Two Kinds."

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2007

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Amy Tan's "Two Kinds" is a story of a daughter coming to grips with her childhood. Ni-Kan, the child in the story, is pressured by her mother to excel in some sort of talent so she can flaunt her daughter to other mothers. Ni-Kan's mother has her copy others to find a talent but fails in every attempt. While watching television one night, Ni-Kan's mother sees a boy playing the piano and decides this will be the perfect talent for Ni-Kan. She is forced by her mother to learn to play from an old deaf man. In rebellion Ni-Kan does not put any effort into learning the piano. She then performs at a recital, plays poorly, and embarrasses herself and her mother. The day after the recital Ni-Kan's mother makes her go pack to the teacher for her lesson. Ni-Kan, out of spite, brought up the twins her mother abandoned in China.

This made her mother sad and dropped the piano lessons. Years later, the mother offers Ni-Kan the piano which she refuses to take as to keep a reminder to her of the battle Ni-Kan had won. Later, after the mother died, Ni-Kan had the piano tuned. She sat at the piano, and though she had not played in years she played "Pleading Child" the piece from the recital followed by "Perfectly Content." After playing the two pieces Ni-Kan comes to realize she could have been a good pianist had her mother not pressured her so much. (Tam 211-218)