Woods' English 2A

This blog is intended to be used as a discussion forum for Mrs. Woods' 2A students from Piedmont Hills High School. The blog will allow each student to offer responses and reactions to the novels read outside of class. This blog will also allow you to read the reactions of others.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Two Kinds"


Blogger Chaddycakez said...

"Piano Prodigy"
Chapter: Two Kinds

1) Reaction:
I really enjoyed this chapter because I too have felt pressured to find some sort of hidden talent. In this chapter poor Jing-Mei is being pressured by her mother to regurgitate some sort of talent that could turn her into a prodigy. And then one fateful night, her mother decides to turn her into a piano prodigy just like the asian girl with the Peter Pan haircut on t.v. I definately have to give this chapter two thumbs up. I really like how it was really relatable. I was most drawn into the part of Jing-Mei having to memorize the multiplication tables in her head. My mom made me do that and though it was tedious and boring it aided me in the long run. This chapter was just overall really funny! I loved Suyuan Woo's persistence to turn her daughter into some child celebrity.

2) The main conflict in this chapter is between Jing-Mei and her mother. Jing-Mei believes that she does not have an extraordinary talent and just wants to be herself. She doesn't really put herself out there and attempt to achieve more than what she already has. Her mother, Suyuan only wants the best for her daughter and keeps pestering her with a plethora of practices. She even starts asking Jing-Mei for capitals of Eurpoean countries. Their two personalities eventually clash at a piano recital, where Jing-Mei does horribly and puts her mother to shame. That would lead to Jing-Mei commenting on her mother's two other daughters and how she wished she was dead like them. (I can sort of understand where she is coming from. Sometimes parents put on too much stress that it overwhelms the child) This just leaves a giant hole in their relationship that Jing-Mei would later try to close as an adult.

3) The theme of this chapter is that you should not sell yourself short. Jing-Mei as a child never really appreciated her mother's persistence in trying to find an activity that her daughter can excel at. Once her mother would assign something, Jing-Mei would just pay no attention to it. She really did not try, to even put her mind at these tasks and complete them. An example would be how she would just mess around at piano lessons. That would lead to her later embarassment. Even as an adult, Jing-Mei dropped out of school and eventually reflected on her laziness and how she did not try these things. Tan's message is that you should put yourself out there to try new things and if you try, you might be able to excel at it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 6:50:00 PM  
Blogger janet_s said...

“Not Everyone is a Kid Genius”

I give this chapter two thumbs up because it is somewhat relatable. Although my parents never pushed me to become a child prodigy and I have never embarrassed myself at a piano recital. But, I can understand how she felt about playing the piano. How sometimes you can just tune out, and not pay attention while the teacher is trying to give you a lesson. And sometimes, you want to quit and you dislike practicing everyday just because your parents said so. This chapter really represented the rebellion of a child against their parents.

2)Jing-Mei Woo and her mother’s relationship:
Their relationship is very angry and resentful. Jin-Mei dislikes her mother for forcing her to become something she is not and she wants to rebel. When they are arguing over piano lessons, Jin-Mei screams, “Then I wish I wasn’t your daughter. I wish you weren’t my mother (153).” Then later, she mentions that she wished she were like the two daughter that her mother had lost in China. This really hurt her mother, causing her mother to back out of the argument. And all her mother wanted was for her to obey. She plainly states, “Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter! (153)” Therefore, their difference of opinions created much tension between them through Jing-Mei’s childhood.

3) Tan’s symbolism:
I really liked the fact that Tan uses the piano song titles, “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” as symbols. On page 155, it reads, “After I played them both a few times, I realized they were two halves of the same song.” It represents that a child who is obedient will be happy, which would have made Jing-Mei Woo’s relationship with her mother more bearable. She finally realized her mother's will at the end of the chapter, when her mother past away a few months ago, this created a sense of regret along with understanding.

Friday, December 28, 2007 3:03:00 PM  
Blogger ros.anne said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, December 28, 2007 6:29:00 PM  
Blogger ros.anne said...

Mozart was a prodigy - you will be one too.
Two Kinds: Joy Luck Club

1) Reaction
I liked how this chapter was written, but I really disliked Suyuan for pushing June so much. She fits into the stereotype so well as a Chinese mother wanting her daughter to excel in the world, and "modestly" brags about her as well. I'm glad my mother (and my aunt, whose daughter's name I hear much about from my mom) weren't as insisting as Suyuan was. I liked the character development June went through: first starting proud, believing she could be a progidy, then waiting until her mom gave up on her, then finally, at the end, discovering the two piano pieces that tied everything together.

2) Jing-mei "June" and Suyuan
The relationship between June and Suyuan progresses throughout the vignette. At the beginning, the two seem to work together in trying to discover what talents June might have to make her a "child genius." However, as June's drive dwindles and she "cheats" at her piano lessons, their relationship becomes rather strained. Suyuan has a steady, unyielding hope that June can still be famous, while June is just hoping for the time when her mom would give up on her. This strain on the relationship shows itself most after the failed piano recital. June was more than ready to give up and drop out, but her mother's persistance still pushed her.

In the end, the conflict between them is resolved to an extent; Suyuan gives the piano "as a sign of forgiveness," no longer pressuring June to become famous. Suyuan still believed June could've been great, but she also accepts the fact that her daughter doesn't try at it.

3) Writing Techniques
Tan uses many different writing techniques, such as imagery, similes, and symbolism.
In the beginning, Tan describes June's disastrous haircut as "an uneven mass of crinkly black fuzz" and "soggy clumps," which were fixed into "hair the length of a boy's, with straight across bangs that hung at a slant." We could easily picture these haircuts in our minds. Tan's imagery also appeals to hearing, where she describes the piece "Anrita's Dance" as a "little frenzied piano piece...sort of quick passages and then teasing lilting ones before it returned to the quick playful parts."

Tan alo includes similes, comparing "high-pitched noises" to a crazed animal, describing June's mother adjusting the TV "like a stiff embraceless dance," and describing Old Lady Chong's fingers "like a dead person's, like an old peach I once found in the back of the refrigerator."

Lastly, Tan uses symbolism with the piano pieces "Pleading Child" and "Perfectly Contented" to represent June, where she was to play "Pleading Child" at her failed recital but later discovers the other half of the piece over thirty years later.

Friday, December 28, 2007 6:30:00 PM  
Blogger michelle chen said...

I Won’t! I Won’t! I Won’t.
1) I liked this chapter because it relates to the children and parents today. The more the parent pushes their child to become something great or starts to put some pressure on them to learn a new instrument or act, the more the child wants to rebel. Jeing-Mei’s mother wanted her to become a Chinese Shirley Temple or a genius or, in the end, a piano prodigy. The more her mother wanted her to do that, the more she did not want to, At the end she was excited, but when she felt that her mother wanted her to a different child, she stopped trying to be better. Without even have ever tried to play the piano, she gave up.
2) The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother is like a rubber band, the more one puts pressure on it, pulls it, tugs on it, the more the rubber band forces itself to go back into it’s normal state. The more her mother puts pressure on her, the more she turns her head at everything put in front of her. Her mother loves Jing-Mei a lot to be doing what she is doing, trying to find a talent in her daughter. As she does this though, Jing-Mei feels like her mother wants a different daughter and feels offended and as she feels that way, she immediately begins to push back, creating resistance.
3) I think that the main conflict in this chapter is internal. I think that it is the internal struggle between what she thinks with what she feels. Jing-Mei’s internal struggle is for weather or not her mother likes the way she is or wants a different daughter. When her mother keeps telling her to be better, to change, Jing-Mei does not know if her own mother likes the way she is or wants her to be a different person altogether. Her mother’s internal conflict is how to get the talent in her daughter to come out. The more she tries hopefully the talent will come out. The clash between these two internal conflicts creates a bigger problem between each other. Neither knows how to resolve their conflicts.

Friday, December 28, 2007 7:18:00 PM  
Blogger grobanitis_ said...

"What I'm Not"
Chapter: Two Kinds

1. I thought this chapter was somewhat annoying. The mother's expectations of her daughter were annoying; the daughter rebelling against her mother just to disappoint her mother was annoying. However, this chapter was very interesting because it really reminded me of modern Asian parents and their kids. I was able to picture people I knew in the situation with Jing-mei and her mother.

2. Jing-mei and her mother don't understand each other. They cannot accept each other for who they are, either. The mother has good intentions for her daughter; she wants her daughter to make the most out of her life because she is living in America, and it is much better than China when the mother was growing up. However, her expectations are too high, and she ends up being disappointed all the time because Jing-mei will "never be the kind of daughter" she wants her to be. Jing-mei, on the other hand, does not understand that her mother had grown up in a less-advantaged environment and that her mother only wants the best for Jing-mei. She does not accept her mother's wishes, so she decides to rebel. Jing-mei says, "I won't let her change me. ...I won't be what I'm not."

3. (How can the scenes from this chapter relate to other works of literature, events, or life today?) This chapter can relate to many relationships between parent(s) and children. Lots of parents are expecting their children to be more than what they can be, and in the end, they get into a big conflict and the child ends up hating the parent. In truth, they just do not understand each other's intentions, and they need to communicate more and be open to each other's thoughts. The parents usually turns a deaf ear to the child's complaints because the parent believes the child is just being a whiner, but sometimes the child is actually saying things with significance. The child usually thinks the parent is being strict and unfair, but they do not understand that their parents just want the best for them. This relates to the chapter because Jing-mei's mother just wants Jing-mei to go up to her full potential, but she thinks her mother is just being a villain, so she rebels instead.

Michelle H.

Friday, December 28, 2007 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger ANU said...

Chinese Shirley Temple
Chapter: Two Kinds

1) I love this chapter because it relates best to teenagers today. It is about a young girl growing up whose stern mother wants her daughter to be on the ladder of success so she can brag about her daughter to all her friends. I laughed while reading this chapter because Jing-Mei’s mother has a variety of future plans for her daughter. From a Chinese Shirley Temple to a pianist. One thing that interested me throughout this chapter was the conflict. It’s like a struggle between the daughter and her mother’s expectations. That’s basically what us teenagers face. When Jing-Mei’s mother gives up on her daughter’s future as a talented pianist, the chapter dissolves into a serious mood. Jing-Mei is intimidated by the fact that her once very confident mother, has begun to give up hope. To make matters worse, Jing-Mei’s mother dies with her shattered dreams. This section of the chapter really depressed me. Overall, this chapter was a success according to me because it contained humor and happiness in the beginning and ended with depressing reality.
2) Jing-Mei and her mother don’t seem to be similar at all. While her mother tests careers on Jing-Mei, Jing-Mei refuses fully try them. She hates having her mother’s pressure up against her chest. She wishes for her mother to believe that not every kid in the universe is a genius. On the other hand, Jing-Mei’s mother wants her daughter to give it a chance since there’s no harm in trying. For example, her mother pushes Jing-Mei to play the piano and wants her to have fun with it however; Jing-Mei doesn’t care if she misses a key. Both seem reasonable to me in their distinguished ways. Jing-Mei and her mother’s relationship can be described as a piece of thread. As the thread is pulled and Jing-Mei’s mother becomes even stricter on her daughter, the thread ends up breaking into two pieces. After the piano incident, that’s basically what happened between the two.
3) The main conflict in this chapter is human verses society. Reading this chapter, I found out how much parents want to brag about their children with great pride. The conflict seems to me like it’s between Jing-Mei and the society around her. She talks a little about Waverly and her natural chess talent. Waverly’s mother brags while Jing-Mei’s mother praises Jing-Mei’s piano talents. The two constantly compete and Jing-Mei wants to “put a stop to [her mother’s] foolish pride. The society around Jing-Mei pressures Jing-Mei’s parents to pressure her so she can be the best. Also, during her awful piano show, Jing-Mei feels the shame of her mother and father, already knowing they are up for great embarrassment in front of their friends with talented children.

Friday, December 28, 2007 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger margaretie=] said...

Chapter: Two Kinds
"Prodigy Schmodigy"

Reaction: >=/
This chapter really made me angry in many ways. I could empathize with Jing-Mei on her resentment towards her mother and her mother's unattainable goals. My Chinese parents also expect a lot out of me. It's simply rooted in the Chinese culture for parents to expect a lot out of their children. In my opinion, Suyuan Woo apparently set the bar too high for Jing-Mei to reach. I mean, what parent requires his or her child to learn all the countries and their capitals? I don't blame Jing-Mei for rebelling.

Jing-Mei and Suyuan Woo
Jing-Mei and Suyuan Woo's relationship is the most bitter mother-daughter relationship in the book. Even in the first chapter, the Joy Luck Club, it is apparent that Jing-Mei did not have a very good, nor an affectionate relationship with her mother. It seemed that both participants knew almost nothing about each other, and that it did not bother either of them. Although I believe love is an obscured, but important element in their relationship, it is never exhumed in the chapter. To me, when I picture their mother-daughter relationship, I see a dog and its trainer forcing the animal to jump over a bar that he is setting higher and higher. Perhaps I sound a little crude...

Human vs. Human conflict
The major conflict in the story is between Jing-Mei and her mother Suyuan. Jing-Mei wishes for her mother to be satisfied with her, and to not expect so much out of her. Suyuan, on the other hand, constantly pushes her daughter, expecting Jing-Mei to be a "prodigy." Their conflict embitters their relationship, leaving both mother and daughter feeling resentful toward each other.

Saturday, December 29, 2007 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger brandi said...

"I can't be anybody that I'm not"
Chapter: Two Kinds

1: I give this chapter two thumbs up because I really enjoyed reading it. This chapter had conflicts that happen in the world today. Like, many kids in the world are pressured by their parents to try to be the best at something, wether its sports, smartness, musical talents, etc. I liked this chapter because I could relate to what Jing-Mei is going through. At a young age, her mother is already telling her what she is going to be, for example be a Chinese Shirley Temple or be a piano prodigy. Even though Jing-Mei doesn't want to play the piano, her mother is forcing her, and even bragging about her to her friends. Jing-Mei is a rebellious daughter who was "determined to put a stop to [her mother's] foolish pride" (149).

2: The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother is just like Waverly and Lindo's. Waverly and Lindo have had their fair share of arguements, just like Jing-Mei and her mother. Their relationship is resentful and misunderstood. They really don't know anything about the other person, which makes them do what they do. Her mother doesn't seem to understand the fact that Jing-Mei just doesn't want to try to be a piano player, but she forces Jing-Mei to keep playing the paino, leading Jing-Mei to resent her mother. Jing-Mei doesn't understand that her mother just "asks [her] to be [her] best" (146). Jing-Mei thinks that her mother is trying to make her be someone she's not and that leads her to rebel against her mother. When Jing-Mei rebels against her mother, her mother gets disappointed in her.

3: The main conflict in this chapter is human vs. human. It's Jing-Mei vs. her mother, Suyun. Suyun wants her daughter to be the best she can be, but Jing-Mei doesn't even want to try. Suyun forces her daughter to play the piano so that she can be a piano prodigy, but Jing-Mei refuses and rebels against her mother's wishes. Suyun tries to make her daughter pocess an extraordinary talent, something that Jing-Mei doesn't think she has.

Sunday, December 30, 2007 1:21:00 PM  
Blogger kristiee said...

“I am who I am”-“Two Kinds”

1. This chapter wasn’t as exciting as some of the other chapters and it was kind of frustrating to read. Throughout the vignette, Jing-Mei refused to try
at all, always thinking that she wasn’t a “genius” and that all she could be was herself. But how could she know who she really is if she never even tried? Once her mother schedualed her for piano lessons with Old Chong, she spent a year fooling around when she could of have been practicing and actually learning how to play. Her mother didn’t expect her to be a genius, and was only trying to give her more options by exposing her to all the tests and cleaning Old Chong’s house so that he would teach Jing-Mei how to play the piano. I could almost see Jing-Mei’s mother’s disappointed face at the recital, plain and blank. Then as she grows up. Jing-Mei continues to give up on things like college, and I was frustrated by this because she never tried to push herself. She never thought she could be anything she wanted to, but her mother did.

2. Jing-Mei and her mother have very different views and they aren’t always on the same page. Jing-Mei’s mother tests her daughter and gives her piano lessons, hoping that she’ll become something great since she was very young. Jing-Mei believes that her mother expects her to become a genius, a child prodigy like the Asian girl on the Ed Sullivan Show, but she knows she isn’t a genius and knows she’ll never be a genius. Jing-Mei gives up on herself, and gives up hope of ever becoming anything, never putting effort in anything. She believes that her mother doesn’t except her for the ordinary girl she is but her mother just wants her to try her best is something, anything. They don’t have a really close relationship, especially after the struggle they had at the piano.

3. I think that the main conflict in this chapter is a human vs. human, internal conflict. Jing-Mei’s mother wants her to try her best and become something, like a pianist, because she knows that her daughter can become anything she wants to be. She pushes her to take tests and take piano lessons hoping that she could find herself in something but Jing-Mei disagrees. She doesn’t believe she can do anything and she doesn’t take the piano lessons seriously, causing her to make a fool out of her mother and herself at the talent show. Jing-Mei constantly feels like her mother wants her to be a genius, and continuously gives up on everything.

Sunday, December 30, 2007 3:03:00 PM  
Blogger tinarifffic said...

"Prodigy? I Think Not.."
1) Overall, I believe this was a very enjoyable chapter because I could relate to it very strongly. Although my parents hadn't pushed me into becoming any sort of prodigy, they did want me to excel in whatever I did, they enrolled me in many classes believing it would stretch me to my full potential. Although the pressure is tiring and they don't connect very well to it, the truth is they only want me to become the best i could me, alike Suyuan Woo only wanted Jing-Mei to be the best she could be.
2)The conflict in this chapter is human vs human, in this case Jing Mei versus her mother, Suyuan. Suyuan only wants Jing Mei to be the best she could be, but to Jing Mei that is too much pressure and it causes her to wish she were dead and it causes her to resent her mother. I could relate to Jing Mei's position because parents sometimes tend to overpressure their children without realizing it, but also Suyans point of view is understandable because she only wants Jing Mei to live up to her full potential, it's only for her own good.
3)This chapter relates to children&parents nowadays because several parents want their kids to do well, some go overboard, but in the end, they all have good intentions. But children don't see that and often learn to hate their parents for their good intentions, this causes a strain in the relationship and it could worsen if their's a lack of communication.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 2:11:00 PM  
Blogger Xtina Vo said...

I Was a Wannabe Child Star
(yes, wannabe is a real word, dictionary.com.)

This chapter has my interest because I can relate with it. Like Jing-Mei Woo, my parents had an aspiration for me to become something great. They told me that when I was a baby, they would watch ice skating on television and they dreamed of me becoming an ice skater. I laughed when I learned that because I’m really a horrible ice skater. But my mother never tried to push me to be an ice skater; it was just a whimsical dream. So I’m not a disappointment like how Jing-Mei is to her mother who desperately tried to mold her into something she’s not. But I’ve got to say how interesting it would be if my mother did push me to be an ice skater.

The relationship between Jing-Mei and Mr. Chong, student and piano teacher, is different from their point of view. Mr. Chong sees Jing-Mei as his apprentice, and since he is too old to catch her mistakes, he thinks she is a great student. After Jing-Mei’s showcase playing the piano, only Mr. Chong clapped “beaming and shouting, ‘Bravo! Bravo! Well done!” while “the audience clapped weakly. Though the audience was aware of Jing-Mei’s horrible piano playing, Mr. Chong was not. He only noticed that his student was able to play on stage in front of everybody. So, with pride, Mr. Chong treats Jing-Mei as his apprentice. Jing-Mei, on the other hand, doesn’t think of herself as Mr. Chong’s apprentice but a student trying to get the least out of her teacher. She didn’t try as much as her teacher thought she did. She treated Mr. Chong like an obstacle she had to pass to disobey her mother. Conclusively, their relationship was much like a teacher and unwilling student.

This chapter relates to the allegory about the girl and the bicycle because Jing-Mei also displayed defiance towards her mother’s wishes like the girl. Like the girl on the bike who thought she knew best, Jing-Mei thought that she would never become what her mother wanted and rebelled against it. With similarity from the girl and mom in the allegory with Jing-Mei and her mother, the stories are parallel to each other.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 3:28:00 PM  
Blogger lydia said...

Two Kinds
"Mission Impossible-World Genius"

This chapter was a fun chapter to read because Jing-Mei Woo's mother always tested her to see if she was a child prodigy. It amazed me because no matter how many failures there were, her mother never stopped! It seemed as if she was desperate to get something out of Jing-Mei, something that was never there to begin with. I also enjoyed reading the part when Lindo Jong would complain to her mother of her daughter bringing "'home too many trophy.'" And tackling Lindo's comment, Jing-mei's mother would complain about Jing-Mei being talented in piano.

The main conflict in this chapter is between Jing-Mei and her mother because Jing-Mei's mother strives for her to be a talented child. Jing-Mei clearly does not have talent in music no matter how hard her mother pushes. Also, Jing-Mei overhears her mother's conversation with her long time best enemy, Lindo Jong. After hearing her mother's false bragging, Jing-Mei was "determined to put a stop to [her mother's] foolish pride."

I think the theme of this chapter is that a person should never force something upon another, but to accept the person as who he or she really is. Obviously, Jing-Mei's mother does not accept the fact that she cannot play piano well. Moreover, she does not see that Jing-Mei clearly hated playing the piano. With her stubbornness, she never truly saw who Jing-Mei Woo was, who her daughter was. It wasn't until her mother finally gave up piano did Jing-Mei appreciate the piano. After her mother gave Jing-mei the piano, "it made [her] feel proud, as if it were a shiny trophy [she] had won back."

Thursday, January 03, 2008 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger BowDownToKevin said...

Ludwig van Jing-Mei
Chapter Two Kinds

1. I enjoyed this chapter because I could relate to it. When I was young, my mom also made me try lots of new things, in hopes I would like one. Of course I didn’t know it at the time, but now I know, that if one wants kids to learn, they have to start early. I don’t think my mom was as pushy as Jing-Mei’s, and the things that my mom let me try weren’t as strange as the things Jin-Mei’s mom forced her to do. All in all, a good chapter nonetheless, highly entertaining and interesting.

2. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother is most prominent in this story. I would consider it a normal mother and daughter relationship minus the fact that the mother is crazy about having her daughter be good at something. I felt kind of bad when at last Jing-Mei began playing the piano and her mother thought she had something to be proud about. She was so proud in fact, she even bragged about her piano prowess. I had to pity her when Jing-Mei played at the talent show, and destroyed her dreams that she herself worked hard to start.

3. I’m sure a couple other people noticed the symbolism between the two titles of the pieces Jing-Mei played, “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented.” As Jing-Mei worked to play “Pleading Child” well enough for the talent show, she herself was pleading to her mother to stop trying to find something Jing-Mei excelled at. Once her mother finally stopped, she found the piece “Perfectly Contented” to show that she was happy her mother stopped bothering her, and that she was at last herself and not what her mother wanted her to be.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Toad said...

"What's the captial of Finland?"

This chapter was very amusing to read because of the rebellious Jing-Mei who I’m sure most of us teenagers can relate to (Although we’re probably not pushed as far as into the rebellious state yet). I find that she is very similar to her mom though, both thought that Jing-Mei could become a child prodigy, and both were very hard headed, keep on insisting what they wanted. And Old Chong was a very amusing teacher to read about. Perhaps Suyuan should choose a teacher for her daughter more carefully the next time she wants her daughter to be a star. Overall, it is one of the less boring chapters to read, although I still liked the last one better.

The relationship between June and her mother were at first very close, with the same hopes and intentions, and then begin to separate as June begins to give up on becoming a star. It begins when June was 9, when the mother wanted to help her daughter to become a prodigy because she believes that “you could be anything you wanted to be in America.” June would listen and train intently with her mother to become some kind of prodigy. Until when June sees “[her] mother’s disappointed face” and “something inside of [her] began to die.” It was then that she promised to herself that “[she] won’t be what [she is] not.” Even though her mother continues to attempt to make her a star by playing the piano, June no longer had the will to become a prodigy. She stopped trying her best to play the piano and embarrassed her mother at a concert, when she failed to play a song. However, it was not until June openly disobeys her mother that their relationship reached a breaking point. She brought up the two babies “[her mother] had lost in China,” and thence forth bringing their once close relationship to a broken knot.

As most of the conflicts from previous chapters, the main conflict in this chapter is an internal one between June and her mother, Suyuan. Suyuan wants her child to become a prodigy while June have already gave up on herself and promises that she will not try to be what she is not. This conflict comes to a boiling point when June can no longer stand her mother’s pressuring and decides to argue back. In the end, Suyuan gets really mad and disappointed at June, and does not forgive June until her 30th birthday when she was given her old piano back.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger diana l said...

Different Ideas

1. Jing-Mei Woo’s mom was expecting a lot from her daughter. Not every child can become a prodigy. I thought the Shirley Temple obsession was funny because it was different and I didn’t expect that. All of the tests reminded me of other parents I’d seen do the same thing to their children because they wanted the children to be smart. I noticed that Jing-Mei’s mother says “Ni kan” a lot at the beginning. The piano lessons seem predictable. A lot Asian parents want their kids to learn to play the piano for some reason. Once again, another proud parent wants to show off their child so I think Jing-Mei felt pressured. The rebellion sounded like a good idea at the time but ultimately Jing-Mei only ended up hurting her mother’s pride. I would give this chapter a thumb up. It was relatable because all kids have felt some sort of pressure from their parents to be the best.
2. Jing-Mei and Waverly don’t like each other. On page 148 it said that the two girls hated each other. Jing-Mei thought Waverly was “snotty” because she was a chess champion. It may seem that Jing-Mei is over reacting and might be jealous. However, after her bad piano performance, Waverly told Jing-Mei, “‘you aren’t a genius like me.’” That was a mean thing to say. The hatred was reciprocated both ways. Maybe the two girls don’t get along because of their mother’s competitiveness.
3. I think the theme of this chapter was competition. Jing-Mei’s mother was competing with Lindo for the better daughter at church. They both showed off their daughter’s talents. Jing-Mei felt like she was competing with Waverly because her mother wanted her to be a prodigy like Waverly. Jing-Mei was sort of competing with her mother because at the end of the chapter, Jing-Mei’s mom wanted her to practice the piano but she wouldn’t because she felt like her mom wanted her to be “’someone [she] was not.’”

Friday, January 04, 2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger princess_Joanna said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, January 04, 2008 7:12:00 PM  
Blogger princess_Joanna said...

Four Clock
Chapter: Two Kinds

1. Jing-Mei Woo’s mother had a lot of patience with her mother. She spent a long time figuring out what she thought her daughter would be best at. Was Jing’s piano teacher, Mr. Chong, a little crazy? When Jing played the piano at her recital, Mr. Chong cheered for her after she played horribly. Why did he cheer for her if he wasn’t able to even hear her play? This chapter was a thumbs up because it showed how a person could have such great hope in another person, just as Jing’s mother felt about Jing playing the piano.

2. The quote, “‘Like Beethoven!’ he shouted to me. ‘We’re both listening only in our head!’” (P. 147) it is noticeable that Mr. Chong said these words to Jing because he was her deaf piano instructor. It is for certain that he is deaf because he is shouting in his quote for no reason. The quote, “Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obidient daughter,” (P. 153) suggests that Jing’s mother’s said this because she wanted her daughter to listen to her and try to play the piano.

3. At the end of chapter, when Jing was going through her mother’s things, after her mother passed away, I learned that the Chinese wore silk dresses with little slits up the sides. The dresses must have been very elegant because silk is a beautiful material that is worn on special occasions.

Friday, January 04, 2008 8:25:00 PM  
Blogger OhPuhleezeLouise said...

Play For Me Darling
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates: Two Kinds

YES. This was a good chapter, well rounded. The ending was great and even though the plot was a little conformed, the characters weren't. This might have been the only chapter where I caught the jokes, and it was a good break from the other darker girls' stories.

When I just now thought of the relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother, I pictured a tall grown-up holding a lollipop above a small child's head too high enough to reach while the little child stretched his arms up as high as he could and jumped to try to reach it. Jing-Mei stretches to reach her mother's high expectations of greatness from her, even though they are impossibly high and in reality too high for her to reach. This is the way it is at the beginning of the relationship. Her mother's tests are random and some humanly impossible. Talent is unique to the person but Jing-Mei's mother looks for other people's talents in Jing-Mei that she reads about in magazines. So it's understandable why Jing-Mei loses interest and daydreams during the tests. Later on, Jing-Mei tries to fight her mother's dreams of her becoming a child prodigy by doing very poorly at piano, but ends up disappointing her family and embarrassing herself at the recital, thinking she would be happy with doing bad because then the pressure would be off. Her mother, however, sometimes lets loose that all she wants is Jing-Mei's best. Jing-Mei seems to be wasting her life away rebelling just to do what her mother doesn't want. She should learn to think for herself instead of letting herself be controlled by the drive to be like the opposite of her mother. Her mother only wants Jing-Mei to do her best, but Jing-Mei doesn't want to do what her mother wants, even if she wants to.

b The theme in this chapter is trying your best. By doing your best, you reach the greatest greatness in you and be happy with yourself. Jing-Mei's mother says to her that she "could [have] been [a] genius if [she] want[ed] to" but she's "just not trying" (154). Throughout the chapter, Jing-Mei does put her effort into doing badly at things, and she never becomes known to anyone for anything. It's sad how mediocre her life is, and it's all due to her never trying her hardest in anything. For example, Jing-Mei never practiced playing a piano piece correctly and didn't fix the mistakes she made. At her recital, she felt so ashamed and embarrassed after playing a song terribly with many mistakes and not being able to correct herself. If she had tried harder during practice she would have played well at the recital and felt good about herself and made her family and friends proud. Therefore, by doing her best, she would have achieved praise and contentment.

Friday, January 04, 2008 9:56:00 PM  
Blogger Allison Chan said...

Refusal to Please
Two Kinds

I enjoyed this chapter very much. I remember when I was only in 3rd grade I was forced to play the piano. Like Jing-Mei Woo, I hated playing the piano. When I quit, my grandma was furious at me, and made me feel guilty about it. It was entertaining to read about the different talents Suyuan Woo made Jing-Mei try out. I found the part when Jing-Mei tried to guess the capital of Finland humorous. I could relate to a lot of the thing's Jing-Mei went through in this vignette, which makes it enjoyable.

2)Jing-Mei and Suyuan Woo
Suyuan want's Jing-Mei to become famous, just like some mother today still do. Although Jing-Mei thinks her mother is just trying to get her to be famous, so she can have bragging rights, her mother is really doing it for Jing-Mei. Suyuan Woo gives her a lesson that it's best to try and its bad not to try at all.

3) The theme of the story is to try as hard as you can to succeed. Jing-Mei never really tried and became careless with her piano practices that it resulted in disaster. You can be what you want as long as you give it your best shot.

Saturday, January 05, 2008 3:52:00 PM  
Blogger Derek Lau said...

Little Miss Mozart

1) I actually liked this chapter a lot, even if there weren't any special intriguing details. I liked how I could relate to this chapter and to Jing-Mei because I play the piano also. It striked me as funny as to what lengths Jing-Mei's mom was willing to take to draw out her "talent" and turn her into a child prodigy. I would give this chapter a definite two thumbs up.

2) I think that Jing-Mei and her mother's relationship is a typical asian relationship. Her mother puts a lot of pressure on Jing-Mei to achieve fame and success, like Waverly. Jing-Mei doesn't believe in herself at all, whereas her mother may believe in her too much. Jing-Mei keeps telling her mother that she isn't a prodigy and has no special talents, but her mother is persistent.

3) I think that this chapter can relate to many people today. Many parents pressure their kids to do things they may not want to do. I, myself don't like to play the piano that much, but my mom made me play it since kindergarten. However, unlike Jing-Mei's mom, my mother doesn't strive to turn me into a piano prodigy.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 6:02:00 PM  
Blogger himali said...

"The Next Shirley Temple?"
Two Kinds

1. This was a good chapter. I like how it wasn't boring or confusing and it was something about something that i could relate to - pressure. Jing-Mei Woo was under a lot of pressure by her mother, who wanted her to become a child prodigy. I also liked how Amy Tan put in some humor by adding the deaf Old Chong. It was also funny when Jing-mei's mother criticized the girl playing piano on the television.

2. Jing-mei and Suyuan have a close and friendly relationship in the beginning. They both are focused on the same task: creating a child prodigy. Jing-mei even states that she "was just as excited as [her] mother, maybe even more" (142). However, later on in the vignette, Jing-mei starts to hate the tasks and tests that her mother makes her do and she starts to feel bored and restless. Eventually, Jing-mei started taking piano lessons. This affects the pair's relationship because Jing-mei feels pressured and doesn’t care about playing the piano. Later on, when she messes up during the talent show, she realizes her mother was disappointed. This also affects their relationship because afterwards, when Suyuan tries to make Jing-mei go to her lessons, Jing-mei yells at her mother; “I wish I wasn’t your daughter. I wish you weren’t my mother…I wish I’d never been born…I wish I were dead! Like them” (153).

3. The main conflict in this chapter is human vs. self, an internal struggle. Jing-mei is struggling internally because she is trying to please her mother and make herself unique. She struggles throughout to stand out in an ordinary world. When she realizes that she is not going to be the next child prodigy, she still obeys her mother and tries to please her and her friends at the talent show.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 7:36:00 PM  
Blogger YAYit'sdavidg said...

'' Your Best ''

1. I thought this chapter was very easy to relate to for alot of people. Everyone's felt pressured one time or another in their life. Young Jing - Mei is put into a tough bind by her mother to have some sort of talent, any talent whatsoever that will put her above all the other girls in America. Blinded by her ignorance, Suyuan pushes Jing - Mei to a point where she decides to rebel and say some really hurtful things to her mother. Though never ending up into a great college or having a great job, the chapter ends with Jing - Mei finally realizing that if only she gave it her best at life, like what Suyuan had told her, she could've been somebody. Two thumbs up for me.

2. Suyuan and Jing - Mei's relationship is like most of the mother - daughter relationships in The Joy Luck Club. Many misunderstandings occur between some of them. It was the ignorance of either the parent, daughter, or even both, that caused these conflicts among families. The ignorance that Suyuan and Jing - Mei showed this chapter grew so much that Jing - Mei had the audacity to tell her mother that she wishes '' [she] wasn't [Suyuan's] daughter. '' (p.153) Though Suyuan was wrong to have pushed Jing - Mei to rebel, Jing - Mei's words could've hurt quite more than Suyuan's futile attempts at a piano prodigy.

3. I think the theme of this chapter is that you should always try your best, regardless of the obstacles or controversy you receive on the way. Though pressured by her mother, Jing - Mei never gave her best efforts to become her best at piano. Suyuan's tactics were wrong, but Jing - Mei shouldn't have gave up so easily. I feel that Suyuan is true when she says Jing Mei is '' not the best. Because [she is] not trying. '' (p.146) Had only Jing - Mei gave her best and disregarding what her mother said, I think that maybe she could've succeeded in what she did. Jing - Mei worried too much about not pleasing Suyuan, instead of pleasing herself.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 7:56:00 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

Fame or Failure?- “Two Kinds”

1) I thought this chapter was very true to life and interesting. I felt bad for Jing-Mei because her mother wanted her to be special and was comparing her with Waverly. I was happy when she decided to stand up for herself when she decided that she was not special and to be who she wanted to be. I thought it was sad when her mother put all that work in Jing-Mei’s piano lessons and even saved up to buy her a piano. Jing-Mei was never really into playing the piano but maybe it was because she was purposely trying to go against her mom. She might have actually enjoyed it if she wasn’t forced into playing or forced into believing she could be a prodigy. I was glad that at the end Jing-Mei was able to sit down and play what she had not been able to play as a child and actually enjoyed it. I think that the whole dispute over the piano was really just an argument between her mother and her.

2) Jing-Mei and her mother have a very traditional mother-daughter relationship. Every mother wants her child to be special and do well. Jing-Mei’s mom wants Jing-Mei to be like Waverly, who has a special talent. Each night she makes Jing-Mei take quizzes to get better in certain areas and find what her special talent might be. Jing-Mei finally gets angry with her mom for making her try to be special when she knows that she is just ordinary and rebels. She becomes so attached to proving her mom wrong that she does not try at anything. When she takes piano lessons she does not care and ends up disappointing her mom and dad at the recital. After this she does not take piano anymore, like her mom lost complete hope in her.

3) Amy Tan is trying to say that everyone should think carefully about what they have in life, whether it is a relationship or and object. Jing-Mei’s mom does not take Jing-Mei for what she is and instead tries to make her better, which only pushes her away and ends up dishonoring the family. Jing-Mei is so caught up in trying to disappoint her mom that she does not try to do anything and instead believes that she does not have the ability to do anything. It is not until the end when Jing-Mei and her mom resolve their ongoing conflict when the piano is passed into Jing-Mei’s possession. Jing-Mei finally realizes that she can still play the piano and understands that her mom forgave her for failing all those years ago. They both did not know what they had until they had been apart for a while and grown.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mindyn40 said...

Two Kinds
"It takes time!"

1) Out of all the chapters so far, this one was the easiest for me to relate to. I detested piano lessons when I was smaller, and when I resumed taking lessons after a four- year break, I also felt that my mother had sent me to hell. Jing-Mei also mentions Waverly as being “snotty,” which is exactly what I described her as. When Jing-Mei her disaster during the talent show, I immediately recalled being in a recital of my own, when I froze upon hitting a wrong note and felt like the entire world had heard my mistake. I give this story thumbs up because of how well Amy Tan describes Jing-Mei’s emotions; the reader is able to effortlessly recognize exactly what she is feeling.
2) The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother, Suyuan, is one I have never seen before. Her mother is obsessed with child prodigies. She doesn’t seem to care about Jing-Mei’s schoolwork, like most Asian parents, because if she did care, she would not be wasting time trying to bring out the “inner prodigy” within her. She does not have a lot of faith in Jing-Mei thanks to her constant failings. However, what Suyuan should do is to take a step back and let Jing-Mei grow naturally. Her true talent will find her eventually.
3) I never knew that a parent such as this existed in Chinese culture. I’ve never heard of a parent forcibly trying to find his or her child’s true calling, because I’ve always thought that everyone knew that true talents can only be uncovered over time. I was also surprised that a young girl could withstand such goading and forcefulness from her mother; if I were Jing-Mei, I would have snapped long before she began taking piano lessons.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 4:37:00 PM  
Blogger daisy! said...

Wanna-be piano prodigy.

1. This chapter definitely portrayed the kind of people Chinese mothers are. They always want their children to be the talk of the town or the one with the spotlight always on them. First, she is the wanna-be Shirley Temple. Second, the smartest kid on earth, knowing capitals of foreign cities. Then finally, comes the part of wanting to become the next world's greatest pianist. I thought it was pretty hilarious when the piano teacher was revealed as deaf! Why would you let your daughter, who wants to learn how to play the piano, go learn from someone who can't hear a thing? I thought it was very relatable when Jing-Mei messed up on her piano recital and continued on with the mistakes for the rest of the song. People usually start to panic after their first mistake and all they can concentrate on is not making another one, but yet, that's exactly what happens. I was kind of glad when her mother didn't make her quit after her performance, at least now Jing-Mei wouldn't quit that easily with things when you make a mistake.

2. Jing-Mei and her mother have a good relationship. She wants her daughter to become America's next phenomenal sensation, and she actually helps her to accomplish whatever they are trying to accomplish. She helps her as she moves from step to step, taking her higher into the career they're heading for. And even when Jing-Mei doesn't do a fantastic job on her first performance, her mother doesn't make her quit everything. She makes her keep going.

3. In this chapter, I am learning that Chinese culture is one that doesn't want to be shamed. They want everyone to be successful in whatever, so they work extra hard to get that whatever to the top. It comes down especially hard when you are a child in a world where other children are more fortunate with different talents. I've learned that mothers want their child to be the one on top, the one where every other mother looks at and compares their child to, instead of the other way around.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 5:32:00 PM  
Blogger Benji said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 8:41:00 PM  
Blogger Benji said...

“This is my world. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN MY WORLD!”-Soldier for TF2
Two Kinds

1/ I thought this chapter was interesting because I it was easy to understand(mostly because this is the chapter that they always excerpt from the book and I have read those excerpts already). I could also relate to this chapter because my parents have tried to push into learning things once before. Like June, when I was forced to learn the skill, I did poorly at it and resented it. However, when I decided for myself to learn the same skill, it was fun and easy to do.

2/ June and Suyuan’s relationship is full of disappointment. Suyuan wants June to be a prodigy like Waverly and pushes her to find her talent quickly instead of naturally. However, it backfires and causes June to resent Suyuan’s attempts to make her a prodigy. This makes June want to not try to be a prodigy just to foil Suyuan’s attempts and disappoint her. This continues throughout her life when she fails to get straight A’s, go to Stanford, and graduate college.

3/ In the allegory, the girl on the bicycle defies her mother’s wishes by biking when her mother doesn’t want her to. Then, the girl ends up falling like her mother said she would a Like the girl, June defies her mother by not being the piano prodigy that her mother wanted her to be. However, when June comes back to the piano when she grows older, she picks up the notes quickly and is even plays a complete song. June learns to play the piano well just like her mother said she would.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 8:44:00 PM  
Blogger kristalikesyou said...

"Brovo, Brovo"
(Two Kinds)

1) Reaction: I liked this chapter because of Jing- Mei made the situation her own. When she was forced to imitate some kind of talent displayed first by other children she wouls try her hardest to make her mother proud. When the days had come and gone, Jing- Mei finally decided that she didn't want to 'play' this game anymore. However, when forced to play the piano she made a radical statement without the intention of embarassing her family. At first I felt put out for her but I think by the end of the chapter I appreiciated the storyline much more.

2) Relationships: The most prominant conflict throughout the chapter is between Jing-Mei and Suyuan, her mother. Suyuan believed that anything could be accomplished in America and that it was Jing-Mei's fault for not trying hard enough. Suyuan, apparently, did not believe in God- given talent or that aspirations weren't enough to get what you wanted. Granted, Jing-Mei really didn't try with the piano...

3)Conflicts! The internal conflict of this story was best displayed by Jing-Mei and her repressed feelings toward how she had to create a talent for herslef in order to make her mother happy. She endured constant repression and was ignored emotionally as her mother grew more and more distant and disappointed. I say, Brovo, Jing-Mei! Hang in there!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 9:31:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger ronak=) said...

“If You Just Try”
Two Kinds

1.I thought this chapter was pretty good because most everything in the chapter made sense unlike the previous chapters. This chapter is also relatable to many people because many parents today push their children to do the best so they can be the best. The kids being as pressured as they are, like to fight back. I thought it was kind of sad how Jing-Mei was a constant disappoint to her mother and thought that she had no natural talent when in fact it was just like the mother said, she just wasn’t trying hard enough and no one told her to be a genius.

2.Jing-Mei and Suyuan Woo have a constantly conflicting relationship in which they are always disagreeing and fighting. Suyuan wants Jing-Mei to be something that she obviously doesn’t want to be. Jing-Mei consequently rebels and yells at her mother for wanting her to be something that she isn’t capable of. However, in the end it turns out that her mother was right, all Jing-Mei needed to do was try more and she would have at least been good.

3.I think the main conflict in this chapter is human vs. human between Jing-Mei and her mother Suyuan. Suyuan wants her daughter to at least try and be good and something and then maybe even become a child prodigy while Jing-Mei doesn’t think she can be a genius and doesn’t want to become a piano prodigy at all. This conflict causes them to never be at peace with each other throughout their lives.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Slyness with a price.

I liked this chapter a lot because i could somewhat relate to it. While i was a kid, i was also forced to try to learn how to play the piano. At many times i did not like it and refused to practice it, but my teacher was not deaf so i was not able to get out of playing like Jing-Mei was. I also relate to her because i do the same things as her when it comes to something that i hate, such as chinese school. Usually, i don't do my homework and don't pay attention in class. I was suprised that Jing-Mei's mother was like that because if i was in Jing-Mei's position, it would make me feel really bad because i could not like up to their expectations. I was shocked while reading the part when she had to perform in the concert. At first i thought it was going to be fine because she felt confident herself, but then as she started playing it was terrible. I felt sorry for her because her mother never listened to her practice before signing her up for the recital. I was surprised that no one ever mentioned anything to Old Chong or complained to him that he was not fit to become a teacher.

2) I think the relationship between Jing-Mei Woo and her mother was very loose. They did not know each other very well and wanted different things for each other. Jing-Mei's mother wanted her to become great as a child prodigy or genius. "Of course you can be prodigy, too" (page 141), Jing-Mei's mother would say to try to support her. On the other hand, Jing-Mei tried her best to flunk the tests and not become a genius like her mother wanted her to become. Her mother kept trying to find the genius side of her and kept giving her the tests, while never noticing that Jing-Mei didn't want to take them and lowered her self-esteem.

3) Theme.
I think that Amy Tan's theme in this chapter was about karma. Jing-Mei did not practice and in the end, she was forced to play in front of an audience. I think that it shows how if you do something bad, something bad will happen to you.

How do you delete a comment? theres one up there that i forgot to put my name on.

-Aaron Ly

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Ramon M. said...

"But I Don't Like To Play The Piano, I'd Rather Go On American Idol!":
1)Reactions on "Two Kinds":
This chapter was surprisingly good in that it was eerily close to what has happened to me in the past. When I was younger, my mother had opinionated that I was a very good actor. She soon started to arrange secret days in which I would attend auditions at places where talent agencies used to search for kids. On my first audition, I was pretty eager to see what I could do; they were searching for kids who could act for commercials. When all the acting was done and we returned home, we found out I had not gotten past the eliminations. I soon lost fondness of that, but my mother still insisted on me to act in all the school plays and for me to go to more auditions. One day a few years ago, she attempted again, but I insisted that I only try to go if I felt like I could really attempt it. After that she stopped bothering me, but she still tries to nudge me to join drama and always to, "just do your best." I also liked this chapter because of the scene when June found out that Mr. Chong was deaf, because I saw a movie about Beethoven once, and I found that it was really dramatic and one could show a sign of wisdom if they could play deaf. Now that's what I call a true prodigy!
2) Relationships in �Two Kinds�:
The main conflicting relationship in �Two Kinds� is how Suyuan expects so much out of her daughter June.
First of all, Suyuan had a forethought that anyone could be anybody, when June said, �My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America,(Tan 141)� which is true, but with that comes a lot of hard work. She had the preconception that June was very talented at piano, when she first showed no signs of talent or liking for it. Even though she had lost everything in China, she could just imply all of her hopes, dreams, and most importantly, her expectations on her. Personally, I think that June was kind of lazy and wasn�t trying her best, at the same time her mother was trying to make June someone she did not want to be and just accept her wishes of her personal image. Overall, this is a relationship in which the intentions of the mother and the intentions of the wife collide and conflict with each other.
3)Essential Questions in �Two Kinds�:
The main conflict in this chapter is the battle between Suyuan�s image of expectations of her daughter and the wishes of June. It is external, because the battle is between Suyuan and June and not within June. Though this doesn�t make sense, I think the main conflict is between human vs. human vs. society, because not only does the intentions of what June wants to be conflict with what Suyuan wants her to be, but you also have societies� image of what a prodigy should be, and how only certain people can be amazing, and this conflicts with June, and forces Suyuan to build her expectations of June.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 7:30:00 PM  
Blogger Patrick Duong said...


1. Reaction
I enjoyed this chapter because it shows that sometimes, life isn't all about everyone being perfect, because honestly no matter how hard you try, you can't meet up to EVERYONES expectations, you should just fulfill your own standards, and be happy with yourself. Jing-Mei was born with constant pressure from her mother's high expectations of becoming a child prodigy such as "Shirley Temple". I enjoyed the moral of this chapter, and nonetheless reading all the wacky things her mother made Jing-Mei to do.

2. The main conflict in this chapter is Jing-Mei and her mother's expectations. Jing-Mei wants to please her mother, and make her happy, but does not have the perseverance to do so. Her mother sacrificed a lot for her to learn how to play the piano, but she failed her by not focusing at practice, and messing around with the teacher because he is deaf. The feeling of shame is like a low blow to Jing-Mei, and as she gets older, she continues to displease her mother, but feels bad in doing so, therefore she accepts taking the piano for her 13th birthday.

3. The moral of this story is to satisfy your needs, not the needs of others. You should try your best at all times, but know when to say, hey, this isn't me. I feel like although Jing-Mei's temper is high, she was right in her actions, and I support her all the way.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 1:02:00 AM  
Blogger isabel said...

two kinds
1)I feel sad for Jing-mei, She feels as if she had to fight her mother and could never become someone famous. Her life was full of fighting her mother that she never tried her hardest. Her mother eventually gave up on her. If I were Jing I probably would have fought also but I would never throw the fact that her mother had lost her two daughters. What Jing said was inexcusable and she should have been ashamed of herself. Her mother was just trying to help her with the piano.
2)Jing and her mother had a far connection. Her mother tried to make her daughter a star but Jing pushed back. Jing pushed far enough that her mother stopped trying. Once her mother stopped there was nothing that made them close. What her mother wanted was different from what Jing wanted.
3)This is both internal and external. Jing doesn’t want to be changed but her mother wants to change her. Jing is fighting herself internally to try and be the girl she wants to be and not the girl her mom wants her to be. She is also fighting herself externally and deliberately being a bad pianist.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 5:41:00 PM  
Blogger kerry_lupercio62 said...

Piano Prodigy?
Chapter: Two Kinds

1. Reaction
I really liked reading this chapter because I was able to relate to the relationship between Jing-Mei and Suyuan. At first, Jing-Mei was excited about her mother trying to find the right prodigy for her. I thought it was a bit funny how they talked about Shirley Temple and the magazines with the stories about child prodigies. However, when Jing-Mei felt sad to disappoint her mother, I felt bad for her. Finally, her mother decided on Jing-Mei learning the piano. I could kind of relate when Jing-Mei did not listen to her piano teacher and that Jing-Mei messed up badly during her piano recital. I disliked how Jing-Mei’s mother tries to make Jing-Mei into something she’s not. My mother also tries to push me into putting more effort into practicing piano, though not as extreme. This chapter really shows the differences and conflicts between a mother and daughter. Overall, I give this chapter two thumbs up!
2. Jing-Mei Woo & Suyuan Woo
The relationship between Jing-Mei and Suyuan is very conflicting and continues to worsen through misunderstandings. Suyuan wants what is best for Jing-Mei by making her play the piano, but Jing-Mei does not realize that and resists against her. Jing-Mei dislikes her mother for trying to make her become something she’s not and rebels. Suyuan doesn’t understand why Jing-Mei is doing this because she believes in an “obedient daughter” and only thinks that this is something good for Jing-Mei. She wants Jing-Mei to become successful and gain pride in their family, but Jing-Mei does not understand that. Jing-Mei and Suyuan do not understand each other’s opinions about the situation and continue to fight, resulting in a resentful and bad relationship with each other.
3. The main conflict of this chapter is human vs. human involving Jing-Mei Woo and Suyuan Woo. However, their conflict is internal with each person’s different opinions and misunderstandings clashing together. Jing-Mei knows that her mother is disappointed in her, but she feels that she cannot do anything to please her. At the same time, when her mother forces her to play the piano, Jing-Mei resists and rebels because she doesn’t want to become something she’s not. She knows she cannot play the piano at the level of a child prodigy and she doesn’t think she has the talent. Suyuan only wishes for her daughter to become the best of something to become proud and recognized, but Jing-Mei doesn’t understand that. Suyuan also doesn’t understand why Jing-Mei is rebelling; she thinks it is only a result of pointless whining. Both sides have misunderstandings with each other resulting in an internal conflict of emotions and opinions.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 6:55:00 PM  
Blogger evelyntang said...

“Practice Practice Practice”
Chapter: Two Kinds

1. This chapter was amusing and a real pick-me-up after the chapter “Half and Half.” I feel like this is another version of Amy Tan’s life. June is pushed to be something that she is not and does not want to become. Tan was pushed to become a doctor, according to the interview. June is being compared, pushed and pressured to become a child prodigy by her mother. At first, June tried, but disappointed her mother every time. And then one night, she decided that she just was not going to try any more. She does this to she can just be appreciated by her mother for what she is. But in the end, her plan fails; Suyuan just gives up on her. This scars June.

2. The relationship between June and Suyuan is painful for June. Suyuan refuses to accept June for who she is. She tried to mold and sculpt June into a prodigy and genius, rather than being content with June being herself. Suyuan wants more from June, so she keeps grabbing for something, June is pressured and gives to her mother what she has until she has nothing left. But in the end, her mother is still not satisfied, so she gives up, leaving June there. Empty.

3. I think that the theme or message that Amy Tan is trying to send is to be content with what you have. Do not be greedy and appreciate what you have. And if you do, you should say it out loud. Even though others may know that you don’t take them for granted, telling them that they mean something to you really makes a difference.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 7:42:00 PM  
Blogger CurlyXPrincess8 said...

“How to become a prodigy. NOT!”
(“Two Kinds”)
1) I found this chapter to have a lot of comic relief. This chapter cracked me up in the beginning. I laughed the most when she gets her hair badly curled and her mother tells her she looks like “A Negro Chinese”. I really enjoyed this chapter, after all the negative happening in the novel, it was a light and fluffy thing to read. Even though Jing-Mei has so many qualms about who she wants to be, the chapter was light hearted. But I must say, it broke my heart when her mother dies. Looking through the belongings of a love one after they die is difficult, when my grandmother died, my aunt, uncle and mother went to her apartment to pack up her belongings, and they came back with tear streaked faces, and great memories of their mother.
2) Jing-Mei has a difficult relationship with her mother. Her mother, so desperately, wants her to become a somebody, at age 9. She doesn’t understand that Jing-Mei has to grow into her self and do what she wishes. Because she was raised with the idea, Jing-Mei also brainwashes her self to believe that she has to be someone important.
3) In application to real life, this reminded me of my aunt and how she wanted to put my cousin in children modeling and pageant shows. My cousin hated it so much, because for the most part, he was a boy! He hated what his mom made him do, he liked to roll in the mud and play with his cousins.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 7:56:00 PM  
Blogger Diana_Ngo said...

“Pleading Child”

1) This chapter was interesting to read. I feel bad for June, because her mother is forcing something that she doesn’t have out of her. I don’t think that it is right for Waverly and June’s mothers to compare them like that. It seems like all the mothers want obedient daughters. “Only two kinds of daughters…Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!” (153). Suyuan not only compares June to Waverly, but Suyuan also puts a lot of pressure on June. She always tells her to practice. I think many people can relate to this. Their parents probably pressure them to get better grades even though their grades are great.

2) June and Suyuan Woo:
I think their relationship is really similar to Waverly and Lindo’s relationship. The mother is pressure the daughter until she can’t take it anymore and cracks or just gives up. Waverly and June both give up eventually. Suyuan wants June to continue to play even though she did horribly at the show. I think their relationship is very typical. It is just the average mother-daughter relationship.

3) This chapter can relate to life. Many parents want their children to succeed and so something really amazing and they push them and push them. They put so much pressure on the child. I don’t think this helps. Suyuan wanted June to be a child prodigy and so she thought of a bunch of thing that June could do so that she could become one. All these things didn’t work. That is why parents should push their children too much. They should encourage, not pressure.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 8:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jeeennifer said...

"Pint-sized Prodigy"

1) Reaction
This chapter was funny to read because it reminded me of the antics my mom gets into when pushing me into doing something like piano. Also, I thought Old Chong was funny to read about. Jing-Mei has to play piano and many kids I know today are also forced to play. By reading this chapter I see some truths to what most Asian parents are like.

2) Suyuan tries to live through her daughter JIng-Mei, forcing her to be all sorts of things, like being the next child prodigy. Suyuan thinks that this will benefit Jing-Mei but all it does is cause her to believe her mother doesn't like who she is. Their relationship is like Waverly and Lindo Jong's, but instead, Jing-Mei is the one that feels like a failure.

3)The main conflict in this chapter is internal conflict. Jing-Mei struggles with her mom. She tries to live up to her mother's expectations but always ends up feeling like a failure, causing her to feel dissatisfied with herself.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 9:54:00 PM  
Blogger Jana said...

“I Know How to Curtsy!”
“Two Kinds”

1.Reaction- If previous chapters didn't teach you anything about how Chinese mothers are portrayed, this must've done it. Jing-Mei Woo shows that her mother, Suyan, was sort of over-aggressive in having high hopes for Jing-Mei. Suyan's hopes for her daughter to be an amazing prodigy turns into Jing-Mei being forced to play piano, which I, personally, can relate with. I loved the fact that Jing-Mei thought she was good at piano all alongside with Mr. Chong, but in the end, she embarrassed herself in front of many people. It was actually funny to me because her mother, Old Chong, and herself had so much pride in her piano skills, but in reality, Jing-Mei was pretty bad at piano. When the chapter came to the scene of Suyan shouting about the two kinds of daughters, I felt really bad for Jing-Mei. That has never been yelled at towards me because my parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams, as long as they approved of what I wanted to do, but still forced me to do things that they thought would be good for me too. In Jing-Mei's position, it seemed like she didn't even have a chance to follow her dreams, and do some of what she wanted to do.

2.Jing-Mei and her mother's relationship sounds better than some of the other daughters of the Joy Luck Club members, but it still had its road-blocks. Suyan wants Jing-Mei to be a wondrous prodigy like Waverly, but in the end, Suyan doesn't push Jing-Mei as hard as Lindo pushes Waverly. As Jing-Mei starts piano lessons, Suyan becomes harder on Jing-Mei to become the best, and soon enough, it tips Jing-Mei off the edge. After the disappointing failure at the talent show, Suyan keeps pushing Jing-Mei to play piano even though she doesn't want to. I think that this is where the two start to butt heads even more, arguing about quitting piano. In the end, Suyan just shut her mouth about piano, and walked away from Jing-Mei, leaving the piano issue at that.

3.I think the main conflict in the chapter is external, human vs. human. Jing-Mei and Suyan are going against each other in hopes of Jing-Mei becoming a piano prodigy. Because Jing-Mei tries to please her mom by playing piano but eventually failing to do so, Suyan is disappointed, but tries to keep pushing Jing-Mei to continue learning. Throughout the chapter, the conflict rises and then hits a climax point, and then drops when the two leave the problem as is. The mother and daughter go at each other after the embarrassing incident at the talent show, and start arguing like there was no tomorrow. By the end of the chapter, Jing-Mei and Suyan just are on common ground with a silent agreement of not talking about the incident again.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger emily. said...

Daughters Are Not Always Exactly the Same as Their Mothers” – “Two Kinds”

1. I thought this chapter was sad because Jing-Mei’s mother kept on pushing her to be something that she could never become. Because of that, Jing-Mei never felt that she would ever get her mother’s approval. I thought that this chapter was good because it shows how much a mother can affect her child. It also shows that not all mother-daughter relationships are perfect.

2. Jing-Mei’s relationship with her mother is very difficult. Jing-Mei’s mother is always striving to make Jing-Mei the best, but Jing-Mei then strives to make her mother wrong and be the worst everything her mother wants her to be good at. Her mother pushing her so hard to be better than normal is exactly what pushed Jing-Mei so hard to be nothing but normal. Had Jing-Mei’s mother not pushed her so hard to be good at piano, Jing- Mei would have probably enjoyed learning how to play the piano. Her mother held her down from being successful by wanting too much for Jing-Mei to be successful.
3. This chapter can relate to life today because many parents strive extremely hard to make their children be the best. However, they do not know that forcing things on their children only makes their children hate it more. Children hate being told what to do, but in the end, if they listen to their parents, they will definitely become successful. This relates to my life because my mom always wants me to be something I am not. She wants me to get perfect scores, but that only makes me want to fail just once to see what her reaction might be. In the end though, my mother is always right.

Friday, January 11, 2008 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger eelaineelam said...

"Piano Humiliation"
"Two Kinds"

1. I give this chapter thumbs up because this is the only chapter that I feel most relatable to. June was forced to learn how to play the piano and practice two hours a day. She had no intrest in playing the piano so whenever she took lessons and practice at Mr. Chong's, she wouldn't care if she played the wrong notes because Mr. Chong couldn't hear. When I was younger, I didn't have any interest in piano either but my mom forced me to learn it so I have a back-up plan for the future. Whenever I would go practice, I would just play random notes on the piano and didn't care because the piano is in a room and I always locked it so no one would hear it.

2. June and Suyuan Woo has a difficult relationship with one another. Suyuan wants her daughter to be a prodigy and or a genius. Everyday Suyuan would quiz June on different subjects to see if she is a genius. Suyuan even compares June to a little girl prodigy in piano on television. Suyuan wants June to be like the little girl so she forces June to learn how to play piano. June hated her mom for that so to prove her wrong, she would just play anything on the piano and don't even bother to play the right notes. After June's horrible performance Suyuan still forced June to go to piano lessons which made June even more frustrated to the point where she wished she was never born.

3. The moral of the story is to accept what you have and do not try to force something or someone to be something they are not. Suyuan forced June to learn piano so she could be a prodigy. She could not accept that June is just an ordinary girl with her own thinking and goals. June hated it so much that she played the wrong notes during her performace to try to tell her mom that she had no interest in it.

Friday, January 11, 2008 3:55:00 PM  
Blogger ChrisNg324 said...

Old Chong's "own Private Reverie"
"Two Kinds"

1) The first thing I thought of this was, “That is just like me when I played piano.” I loved this chapter because I could really relate to it. When I was learning piano, I didn’t have much time to practice at home, and when I did have time, I was reading or watching T.V. I would end up hoping that I would get better during class, but unlike Jing-Mei’s teacher, mine wasn’t deaf so she heard every incorrect note I played. I give this chapter thumbs up because it was like reading my life back to me.

2) The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother is again like that of your typical Chinese family. The mother in this family would push and push until the son or daughter is doing some activity that is special and then afterwards, the mother would exploit that talent for personal uses like bragging as shown in the scene when June’s mother talked to Waverly’s mother. I found this relationship to be so typical that it somewhat seems offensive.

3) Question 3: In the opening allegory, the child failed to listen to her mother and ended up getting hurt. In this story, Jing-Mei refused to listen to her mother, Suyuan Woo. This ended up not only hurting Suyuan but Jing-Mei herself too. Because Jing-Mei didn’t want to practice, she embarrassed her family and herself in front of a huge live audience.

Friday, January 11, 2008 5:01:00 PM  
Blogger christopher_tam said...

Kinds, Kinds
Two Kinds

1. I really liked this chapter because it was easy to relate to. In this chapter Jing-Mei is forced to find her hidden talent. After her mother sees a girl play excellently on the piano she decides her daughter must learn piano. My parents made me take private lessons for piano in elementary school. My parents though I was going to be really good but I really wasn’t. After years of playing I got really sick of it and stopped practicing everyday. I wanted to quit for so long but my parents wouldn’t allow it. It took me until the end of middle school to convince my parents that I wanted to stop. This chapter deserves a thumbs up.
2. Jing-Mei and her mother, Suyuan have a regular mother-daughter relationship. Suyuan just wants her daughter to be the best she can be. She spends a lot of her time teaching her daughter to see what kind of prodigy she would be but after awhile Jing-Mei became bored. Suyuan than forced her to take piano lessons which cause more rebellion. Like any regular mother-daughter relation they end up in fights. This happens when Jing-Mei messes up her recital and doesn’t want to play anymore. She wishes she had a different mother because she was not the daughters in China.
3. I think the conflict in this chapter is human vs. human. Jing-Mei and Suyuan are always in a constant battle. Suyuan just want the best for Jing-Mei but Jing-Mei can’t handle all the pressure. Jing-Mei can’t live up to her mother’s expectations and begins to give up on everything. Their relationship is torn apart because Jing-Mei argues against her mother’s ways.

Friday, January 11, 2008 5:03:00 PM  
Blogger Catherine Deng said...

Failure of Expectations

1. Reaction: I really liked this chapter. I like how her mother seems so much more realistic than the earlier two mothers. Her mother expects so much of June just like mine. But sometimes June doesn’t meet all of these expectations. I can kind of relate when June doesn’t try on purpose but ends up feeling regretful that she did not try. I just don’t get why her mother put June into talent show, she should have heard June’s playing since June plays at home. She should at least have some insurance before going around bragging.
2. Suyuan And June
The mother has hopes that June would be really good at something and become successful at it. She thinks that what she’s doing is best for her daughter and so ends up pushing June to become good at piano. Suyuan says, “‘Only ask you be your best. For your sake. You think I want you to be genius? Hnnh! What for! Who ask you!’” (146). Her ideas are a bit unrealistic but then, so is her idea of America being a place where you could be whatever you want. June doesn’t like being pushed into doing things she doesn’t believe she is naturally good at and so decides to rebel against her mother for the satisfaction of knowing she won against her mother. June knows that her mother’s ideas are unrealistic but doesn’t realize that her mother is doing what she can to help June. Her mother worked to get her piano lessons and to get a piano, but June doesn’t feel any need to do her best, instead she purposely tries to embarrass her mother. Even June says that “maybe [she] never really gave [herself] a fair chance.”
3. Relation to Allegory
The allegory is where a child does not listen to her mother and ends up falling and doing exactly what her mother told her not to do. In this chapter, June thought her mother did not know anything, just like the girl on the bike, and does what she wants. She purposely does not try at the piano and ends up embarrassing herself on stage and making her mother and ashamed, just like how the girl fell off the bike.

Friday, January 11, 2008 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger Xochitl_didn't_eat_the_pie! said...

Title: I Hate Pianos
(Focusing on “Two Kinds”)

1) Jeez, if I thought Lindo was tough on her daughter, it’s nothing compared to what Suyuan is like to her daughter, Jing-Mei. I thought that maybe Suyuan was sane, that maybe she wasn’t totally crazy and whacked like the other mothers in the Joy Luck club, but she was! She’s just as crazy as the rest of them! I felt so happy when Jing-Mei told her off. I was like, yes! Take that, Suyuan! Not really the right thing to do, but the daughters have to stand up for themselves sometime, in some way, don’t they? Suyuan is much too competitive, and it seems like she cares more about winning than her daughter’s feelings. But I’ll get into that later. For now, I really don’t like Suyuan, and I’ll leave it at that.
2) Suyuan vs. Jing-Mei. That’s really the only way that you can depict this pair’s relationship. It’s a struggle for power, for dominance, for independence. Jing-Mei just wants to be a regular girl, find her own talents in her own time, but Suyuan is too busy being caught up in her competition against Lindo to be patient and wait for her daughter’s skills to develop. It’s like Suyuan is trying to shove everything that she wanted for her other daughters into Jing-Mei, and it’s only creating feelings of resentment and bitterness towards her.
3) In this chapter, the main conflict is definitely external, as it’s human vs. human. It’s pretty obvious, as the entire struggle is based on the pull of power between Jing-Mei and her mother, so it is not internal; it’s not a human vs. self kind of conflict.

Friday, January 11, 2008 5:40:00 PM  
Blogger emily_chong said...

You Can’t Change Me –“Two Kinds”

1. This chapter was enjoyable to read because it was so relatable. It talks of a mother who has high hopes in America and believes “you [can] be anything you [want] to be.” Thus started Suyuan’s quest on finding the prodigy in June. After many repeated failures, June couldn’t take it anymore and decided that she doesn’t want to change. She just wants to be herself.

2. The relationship between Suyuan and June varies throughout the chapter. At first, June is an obedient daughter who willingly works with her mother to find her hidden talent. However, Suyuan would constantly push June, trying to find some sort of hidden talent in her daughter and their relationship worsened. June couldn’t take it anymore and just gave up. Instead of paying attention, June would start “counting the bellows of the foghorns…while [her] mother drilled [her] in other areas.”

3. I loved how Amy Tan incorporated the two piano pieces: “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” as symbols. I think they symbolize the two halves of June. In the beginning of the story, June was always begging her mother to stop her piano lessons. As the story progresses and June finds the missing half of the piece, she finds the balance between her two sides. With these two pieces, June was able to finally understand her mother’s wishes.

Friday, January 11, 2008 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

“Two Halves Make a Whole”
Half and Half
1. I liked this chapter because it portrayed the expectations of parents. It reminds me of how many people must have been forced into doing something they hated for the sake of their parents. I like this chapter mostly because I can relate to being forced to play piano and it certainly wasn’t pleasant in my early years, but now I can see why my parents did it.
2. Suyuan’s expectations caused Jing-Mei to believe that she could become perfect easily. She puts too much pressure on Jing-Mei, trying to make her become a worthy opponent for Waverly and like Lindo, have something to brag about. Jing –Mei didn’t see why she needed to learn the piano, so she slacked off. She didn’t realize and consider how hard her mother was working for her lessons. Suyuan shows that she loves Jing-Mei and wants her to live the American dream, but she forces too much upon her daughter which leaves them both sad. Jing – Mei didn’t realize how much she hurt her mother because she felt “[she] couldn’t be anything [she] wanted to be. [She] could only be [herself]”. Their relationship is very much like a rope with one person on each side pulling, until the rope becomes taut and breaks, leaving both participants unhappy.
3. This chapter relates to the opening allegory because as a result of the daughter not listening to her mother, she falls before reaching her goal. Because Jing-Mei was burdened with so many of her mother’s hopes and dreams she rebelled against her mother’s wishes. She didn’t practice the piano faithfully like her mother told her to. That led to her fall on her first debut in the talent show. Just like how the daughter in the allegory refuses to listen to her mother’s warnings and falls off the bike before she turned the corner.

Friday, January 11, 2008 6:39:00 PM  
Blogger Where_You_At_Grambow? said...

Bravo! Bravo!
(Two Kinds)

1. This chapter was very interesting. I like playing the piano, but I would probably never have a teacher who is deaf. However, I have had an old teacher because he didn’t want much money, just like Old Chong. I thought it was mean of Waverly to tell Jing- Mei that she wasn’t a genius like her. I thought it was nice for Jing-Mei’s parents to not say anything bad about her performance. I think it only takes one time for someone to mess up in front of an audience before they realize how perfect the audience wants a show to be. I realized this when I was in first grade. I was singing “On a Good Ship Lollypop,” and I was almost done with the song, but at the last few words I forgot what came next and my expression froze for a while. After what seemed like minutes, I heard my mom whisper the words to me. After that, I always made sure I was prepared before I stepped in front of an audience.
2. Jing- Mei and her mother don’t seem to get along all of the time. Her mom wants her to be a prodigy, but Jing-Mei only wants to be Jing-Mei. Her mother forces her to sit at the piano and practice. Finally after embarrassing herself at the concert, Jing- Mei tells her mom how she really feels, and their differences start to show. Jing- Mei appears to only make total peace until she accepts her piano.
3. I have learned more about Chinese culture. I have learned that Chinese parents like to compare their children to other children. They all want their children to shine brightly in the world, so they learn different skills like playing the piano.

Friday, January 11, 2008 8:02:00 PM  
Blogger hyxue said...

Failure to Launch
(Chapter: Two Kinds)

1. Reaction
I felt sorry for June. Like June’s mom, Jing- mei, my parents often tell me that I fail to do something because I wasn’t trying hard enough. I think that it was their way of telling me that my failure wasn’t a result of my stupidity, but I knew it was. Although my parents never expected anything from me or thought that I was a potential prodigy, I felt like I understand June’s situation. June’s mother wanted her to be a prodigy and my aunts wanted me to act more like a girl. Neither June nor I reached their expectations. I pitied June as I read how she miserably played her piano in a competition.

2. Jing- Mei, June’s mom, has too many expectations. It’s one thing to want your daughter to be smart, it is another thing to try and make her a movie star and say that she is a prodigy. Jing –Mei really wants her daughter to be special like her friend’s daughter, but June doesn’t want to carry on her mother’s wishes. She wanted to be herself and live be her own set of rules. June and her mother don’t share the same thoughts and view on things and life. Jing- Mei wants June to be very good at the piano while the daughter doesn’t really enjoy playing the piano.

3. Connection to Allegory
In this chapter, June is like the daughter in the allegory who didn’t listen to her mother’s advice and fell. June did not fall off a bike, but she did fail or did horrible during her piano recital. If June and listened to her mother and actually practiced instead of being careless, lazy and so rebellious, perhaps her fate would had been better.

Friday, January 11, 2008 9:05:00 PM  
Blogger Erick with a CK said...

"Hey, least you tried to be a prodigy, and that's what matters!"
(Two Kinds)

1) Wow, I never liked to read books but I actually really liked this chapter, probably because it closely relates to my life. A funny thing is that I actually own one of the piano books mentioned in the chapter, Schumann's "Scenes from Childhood." I've played piano myself for about seven years now, having these kinds of musical mood swings. Majority of the time, I never feel like playing piano but in rare cases, I just become in the mood, in the mood to become a prodigy (I'm probably too old to become one now). ANYWAYS, Jing-Mei wants to become a prodigy like Waverly, but unfortunately fails miserably and starts hating her life wishing that she was "dead like her two sisters."

2) The relationship between Jing-Mei and Suyuan is quite similar to many other people. A parent wants her child to become a prodigy and forces them to take certain test to see if there's anything extraordinary. The child starts to hate the test and thinks that the parent is trying to make her the best. A childish thought to think but then she realizes that her mother just wants her to do/try her best. She never asked her to become a prodigy.

3) I think that the metaphor (whoa, 4 T's in a row!) is comparing the two songs at the end of the chapter to the two sides of Jing-Mei. One side is the outside, mediocrity and lack of self-esteem. The other side is the prodigy inside her, the will to do something using only determination. Jing-Mei believed that fate played a part in her life. Since she was not a prodigy, she could not become one. Instead, later in her life, she soon discovers that her mom was only trying to reveal the prodigy will inside of her.

Friday, January 11, 2008 9:26:00 PM  
Blogger Christina Tran said...

“Pressure anyone?”
Chapter “Two Kinds”

1) My Reaction
I thought this chapter was pressuring for June because Suyuan wanted June to be a prodigy in just about everything. Suyuan even “traded housecleaning services for weekly lessons and a piano for [June] to practice on every day” (136). I could actually understand how June felt being pressured by her mother because I go through the same thing with my parents now. I gave this chapter a thumbs up because I could relate to the character June. I think Amy Tan did a good job with the typical story of a parent wanting their child to be the absolute best.

2) Suyuan and June
The relationship between Suyuan and June is like a traditional parent having high hopes and expectations for their child. Suyuan was willing to work extra hard in order for her daughter to become successful in the future. She only wants what’s best for her child. To train June into becoming a prodigy, Suyuan “would present new tests [that eventually] got hard—multiplying numbers in [June’s] head, finding the queen of hearts in a heck of cards” and several more skills (134). Suyuan always pushed June to try her best. Even if it may have seemed that Suyuan had too much expectation for June, she only did it out of love.

3) Scenes related to Life today
The scenes from this chapter relate to common parent-child situations. Parents love to have children who are successful so they can brag about them. Parents usually want their children to reach their expectations even if their have to push them to the limit. The children, of course, believe that their parents want to torture them. As a result, the children prefer to go against their parent’s wishes, making them a disappointment. However as children go older, they eventually realize their parent’s hard work.

Friday, January 11, 2008 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger cassiiieee_ said...

“Not perfect.”
1.)In this chapter we meet Jing mei Woo and her mother Suyuan Woo. Suyuan had lost two children in the past before she had came to America. She now has other children, one named Jing mei also known as June. She tries to train her to become something she is not, which I think a lot of kids can relate too. I really liked how, Suyuan, compared June to Shirley temple and wanted her to be just like her. I think I really liked it because I could relate to it. Its very entertaining reading something you can really relate to, it pulls the reader in. it makes them want more.
2.)June and her mother are a very interesting pair. Most mothers and daughters are just like them. Every daughter or son knows how it feels to have their parents want them to be something they can’t or don’t want to. They set the standards too high for them, that they can’t reach it. June and Suyuan love each other, but at the same time June hates her, she wants her mother to just be proud of her, no matter what she does. They just have a typical mother daughter relationship.
Parents, mostly mothers want their child to be perfect. From the day they are born they have their whole life set out. As the child grows they follow their parents because they don’t know any better, but as they grow up, they realize how hard it is to be something you can’t. the bars have been set too high for them that they can’t reach and if they do, some loose their grip and fall. Everyone hates disappointing their parents, but it’s not their fault. In this chapter June’s mother does the same. She sets the bar too high for June to reach, that she falls, and disappoints her mother.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger  said...


1.This was also a good chapter. It showed alot of the qualities of (what ive heard) an asian parent is like. For me, i could not take all the pressure that is put onto June's shoulders. And at such a young age! It was really funny to read about all the crazy ideas that Suyuan has for June. Like when she saw a little girl witha short peter pan haircut, and went out and made June cut her hair the same way.
2. Definitely the main conflict was between June and her mother. Throughout this whole chapter Junes mom pressured her to be something she is not. She keeps coming up with crazy schemes that she wants June to accomplish. June only wants to find her own identity so she rebels and yells at her mother, reminding her of the dead babies in China.
3. The main conflict to me in this chapter is human vs. society. Even though most of the conflict that the reader can see in the book is between June and her mother, the reasons for the conflict is from society. This is because Junes mom sees these things on tv and so she wants her daughter to be like the people she sees being successful.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Vinky said...

Deux Chasons – “Two Kinds”

This chapter about June and her talents made me reflect on my own skills. My mother, just like June’s, really had high expectations yet both of us “failed” their expectations at one point in our lifetime. I understand how June feels how she can’t seem to do anything sometimes because I have felt that myself. I feel really bad for Suyuan, June’s mother, because she has given up so much and lost so much and she’s trying to find herself still after all the chaos. Suyuan’s hopes were all put on June’s shoulders but she couldn’t handle the pressure.

Suyuan and her daughter, June, like many other mother-daughters in The Joy Luck Club have holes and scars in their relationships. Suyuan always expected her daughter to be a genius like Waverly Jong but June was not a genius of any kind. June feels like she was forced to be Chinese Shirley Temple or a great pianist which made her resent her mom for it. June constantly told her mom of her unhappiness and how she could never be a genius in anything. Finally when June could not take it anymore, she explodes and breaks Suyuans heart. Her mother was so disappointed in her and June knew it.

The conflict of the chapter was the emotional battle between June and Suyuan. Like a game of tug-o-war, June and Suyuan were pulling hard on both ends and they both end up disappointed and let down by the other. Suyuan thinks that June isn’t trying hard enough or even trying at all! June finally figures it out at the end of chapter when she looks back at her old songs by Schumann. She finds inner peace with herself and her mother.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger xxxlilaznboiandrewxxx said...

“Woo Vs. Jong”
“Two Kinds”

WOW. Why do all Chinese parents pressure their children to do so well? In this chapter, it tell how Jing-mei is pressured into having a talent such as being an actress or someone who is smart but doesn’t comply with any of those. Jing-mei is then pressured into being a great piano player but turns out horribly. In this chapter you can see that the pressure that weighs down the children causes the children to erupt, such as Jing-mei erupting to her mom.

Jing-mei and Mrs. Woo:
This may sound redundant but this chapter is a classic Asian parent to Daughter relationship. It is almost exactly the same to the chapter “Rules of the Game” but the end product isn’t a champion. Mrs. Woo wants her daughter to be something so she assigns her to stuff not knowing what Jing-mei really wants to do. Jing-mei eventually does try a little in piano but she does that for her mom and not for her. Their relationship isn’t really open to where Jing-Mei can ask her mom what she wants to do.

3] This chapter relates to life especially to mine. I was expected to pass the exam to get into Bellarmine but I failed it. It was my mom’s dream for me to get in but I couldn’t ass the test. It was hard. I too erupted, saying how much pressure I had on me and that I couldn’t do it.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Minh the Master said...

“Two Kinds”

While most parents would be glad to find that their child genius, I think Suyuan goes a little bit far, trying as hard as she can to find something that Jing-Mei is good at. From going to the Chinese Shirley Temple to knowing temperatures across the nation, it’s crazy how determined Suyuan is to find anything that Jing-Mei’s good at. While she tries at first too, it’s sad how Jing-Mei gets broken down seeing her mother’s disappointment, and just stops trying. Once again, a few months later, Suyuan is still hopeful of Jing-Mei being able to be a piano prodigy. Even though nothing has been successful so far, it seems like it’s even more disappointing for Suyuan that Jing-Mei doesn’t even try. She wouldn’t be able to find the prodigy in herself if she doesn’t even look for it. She gets what she deserves when she ends up at the talent show, expecting to perform well when she hasn’t even practiced. She bombs horribly, and everyone knows she’s horrible playing the piano. When Jing-Mei and her mom get into the fight, it’s awful that Jing-Mei says she wished she wasn’t born and all the other mean things. It gets okay later though, when she’s older and her mom and her have made up. When she picks up playing again, and realizes how the 2 songs are just 1 song, it seems like it’s comparing her mom and her to the songs.

The relationship between Jing-Mei and Suyuan is filled with disappointment and resentment. Every time Jing-Mei fails at something, Suyuan gets disappointed. It happens so often that the disappointment just mounts and eventually, Jing-Mei resents her mom for forcing her to try to be something that she’s not. It’s pretty sad, but at least they get over it later on, and they come back to good terms.

I think the theme Amy Tan is trying to show in this part of the book is what disappointment and failure can do to a person. While failure drives Jing-Mei crazy at first, it then turns her into someone who doesn’t even try. She’s determined to fail just because she believes she can, as if she’s afraid of trying and having her expectations dashed again.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Of all the chapters in the book, I think that I can relate to this one the best. My parents believe that I will never be as good as anyone, and routinely make comparisons between me and people who they know I consider inferior (such as my cousins). This seems to be like Jing-Mei’s mother and her stubborn determination to show off her daughter. The part where Jing-Mei tunes out her mother and her teacher is also good, because it shows that Jing-Mei doesn’t really care about her mother’s wishes.

The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother can best be described as very dissentious. While the mother is trying to make her daughter become a prodigy, Jing-Mei just wants to live a normal life and feels that what she has managed to do is adequate. As a matter of fact, she even wants to put her mother’s pride to a rest and is determined not to try. All this culminates in a shouting match, where Jing-Mei says, “You want me to be someone that I’m not!” At the end, though, the rift seems to have been mended, and the piano is offered to Jing-Mei as a sign of forgiveness.

At the end, two songs from the book – “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” are two halves of the same song. I think Tan is trying to say that, while the two may seem exact opposites (shorter and slower vs. longer and faster), they are merely two parts of one greater thing.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

“At Least Try”
Two Kinds

1)This was another good chapter because it was interesting and it had some plots that were meaningful. Jing-Mei Woo was always forced to learn new stuff and her mom is always pushing her, telling her she has to be as good as the person on television or on the front cover of the magazine. But Jing-Mei finally started to revolt against her mom and learning.

2)Jing-Mei’s mother is very competitive and she wants Jing-Mei to be the top of the teenagers in talents. Whether it’s playing the piano, dancing, acting, or rehearsing the Bible, her mother would always want her to do her best. But Jing-Mei started to realize why she’s doing all these and then decided not to listen to her mother anymore. It ended when Jing-Mei embarrassed herself in front of an audience when she had a piano recital.

3)I could relate to Jing-Mei and I know how she feels because parents would want their kids to be smart and be the top. So they would push you and sometimes push you a little too hard. I know how Jing–Mei feels because I tried a lot of things before and ended up quitting them, including piano.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger ayellowpirate said...

"the rusty recital"
“Two Kinds”
1. This chapter was alright. There wasn’t enough action, not that many fights. There was enough conflicts though to make it an alright chapter. I was pissed off at Jing-Mei a bit throughout the chapter. She was so selfish, didn’t care, lazy, and didn’t like to do anything. Nonetheless, I sympathize with her and can understand her frustration. At first, she was willing to do anything for her mother, to please her. Her mom took it a bit too for thought. Sometimes, it is alright for the kid to talk back. Jing-Mei should do what she wants, not what her mother wants. I found it funny too how Jing-Mei took advantage of Old Chong. I would do the same too, but I’d get in trouble.
2. Jing-Mei and her mom’s relationship is typical in the Asian community. The mom always seems to find some fault in her “should-be” perfect girl. They try to shape up their daughters so that they can show them off to their friends. This causes many problems, like seen with Jing-Mei and her mom. Jing-Mei wants to change for her mom in the beginning, but stops caring once the nagging and complaints start building up. Her mom took it too far and even had to force Jing-Mei to take part in unwanted activites, like playing the piano. Her mom wants a daughter, who she can go and boast to her friend about. Jing-Mei just wants to be herself. These two opposite minds clashed and just increased the tension between those two.
3. From this chapter, I’ve learned that every Asian parent wants some “special” child, setting them apart from everyone else. I didn’t really learn this because many friends tell me this constantly happens. I away, I have first-hand knowledge of this culture. I’ve also learned that in Chinese families, there are two kind of daughters. One is obedient and the other follows her own mind. The one that is obedient is rewarded while the freelancer gets punished. I wonder if there is an in-between daughter, who can please both sides because it’s not fair for the girl, who is expected to be obedient. If I ever forced my daughter to be something she isn’t, I’d understand if she’s pissed off and decides to do whatever she wants.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Another Child Prodigy
“Two Kinds”
1. I thought this chapter was similar Waverly Jong’s vignette, “Rules of the Game.” Both their mother’s bragged about their talent and ultimately became disappointed by their dauhters. Furthermore, both girls tried to confront their mothers but lost. I thought it was interesting how Amy Tan, either consciously or unconsciously, made their story similar to reveal the rivalry between Waverly and Jing-Mei. I thought it was distressing how the disappointment of Jing-Mei’s mother slowly made Jing-Mei start to lose confidence and die a little inside. Her mother pressed so much on Jing-Mei at such a young age. I thought it was ironic that in the end, Suyuan wanted an obedient daughter, but it was Suyuan who made her daughter so rebellious. On a side note, it finally occurred to me that Jing-Mei is the only daughter in the book who has a Chinese name.
2. It seems like Suyuan, Jing-Mei’s mother thinks of Jing-Mei as a tool or an object to brag about to her rival Autie Lin/Lindo. She tries to shape her into something she isn’t. It also seemed like Suyuan was contradicting herself because she says Jing-Mei can be a prodigy but goes on to say that she didn’t ask her to be a prodigy. Also, near the end of the vignette, she tells Jing-Mei that she wants an obedient daughter. This confuses me because normally a parent would want a child who could think for themselves and not be so dependent.
3. Amy Tan refers to two piano pieces: “Perfectly Contented” and “Pleading Child.” The two pieces are two halves of the same song, so I think that the two pieces symbolize the two kinds of daughters that Suyuan describes: obedient and those who follow their own mind. Therefore, I Suyuan didn’t just want an obedient daughter but rather wanted a daughter who had both characteristics.
4. I think that the life-lesson was to have a balance in being obedient and being independent. In this vignette, Jing-Mei started as an obedient daughter but after a while, becomes rebellious. Basically, Jing-Mei is only one at a certain time and cannot find stability between them.

Monday, December 22, 2008 8:33:00 PM  
Blogger RHEEAK. said...

1. Rikki Dionisio, Period 6
2. The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates: “Rules of the Game”
3. “I can do anything better than you.”
4. This chapter, personally, was not the most interesting, though one of the most realistic. Many parents push their children to participate in many extracurricular activates and slave to make the best grades possible, similar to Jing-Mei and her mother. The child is often the one who doesn’t want to participate but they do it just to please their parents.
5. Jing-Mei and her mother have a typical “Asian” family relationship. Her mother is pressuring her to continue her continue her gift and whenever she gets the chance she parades her daughter like a window shop display. Jing-Mei resents her mother for pressuring and forcing her to pursue her talent. Jing-Mei yells at her mother saying she wishes she wasn’t her daughter and that hurt her mother, as if she didn’t realize that the way she was forcing Jing-Mei to do things. They don’t understand why the other does certain things to the other person, and I believe that that is what is driving them apart. They finally just give up on each other and Jing-Mei finally gets to a comfortable place where she realizes that she is happy with who she is and she refuses to let her mother’s perception of who she is change her.
6. b. What is the main conflict in the chapter? Is it internal or external, human vs. self, vs. society, vs. nature, vs. human and how do you know?

I believe the main conflict in this chapter is human vs. society (internal). I believe this because Jing-Mei’s mother, Suyuan, is in competition with herself and with other Asian families and their children to “produce” a “genius child.” Jing-Mei is also in competition with herself because Asian children, mainly, always feel they must be 100% obedient to their parents so they do not question their parents motives, though they aren’t always in agreement with them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 6:19:00 PM  
Blogger JessieT said...

1. “Disappointment”
2. “Two Kinds”
3. This chapter is one of my favorite chapters so far because it is so relatable. Suyuan Woo pushed her daughter so she could excel in something and become a prodigy. Although my parents didn’t push me to be a prodigy, they wanted me excel in everything I did, from schoolwork to things like cooking. Many other parents push their children to be the best that can be. I was, however, angry at June because she believed she could be a piano prodigy without putting in any effort. The only thing she really put effort in was her curtsies. Although it wasn’t polite of Waverly to brag about her chess skills, I think she earned the right to brag because Waverly put so much time and effort into improving her chess skills. Waverly loved chess and would spend hours planning out imaginary battles. June only practiced her piano for two hours a day because her mom told her to, not because she wanted to. June just wanted to soak in the glory and make her mother proud without working for it.

4. Jing-mei and Suyuan Woo have a very typical mother-daughter relationship that many others can relate to. June’s mother, Suyuan Woo, always pushes her daughter to be the best she can be in everything she does. This quality is also seen in many mothers, because being the best a person can be will get them farther in life than a person who always gives up on something without really trying. June desperately tries to please her mother even though she cannot live up to her expectations.

5. In this vignette, Tan uses flashbacks to tell the stories behind the characters Jing-mei and Suyuan Woo. This really helps bring more depth and reality to the characters. It also lets the reader see the kind of person Suyuan Woo was before she passed away. The old Wurlitzer piano and the colorful knit sweaters were given a deeper sentimental value.

6. The main conflicts in this vignette are both human vs. society and human vs. human, because June battled all the expectations put on her by her mother and other child prodigies. Children like Shirley Temple and the three-year old boy who knew the capitals of all the states and countries were all prodigies who were endorsed by society as geniuses. To June’s mother, this prodigy status became a set standard. Suyuan proceeded to force this expectation onto her daughter, Jing-mei. Meanwhile, Suyuan’s constant bragging made friends and family expect June to do something amazing like a prodigy. All of these expectations are what June must battle against.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 8:39:00 PM  
Blogger Diana Nguyen said...

The Pianist
“Two Kinds”
1.This chapter seemed very identical to the chapter “Rules of the Game” in that it reminded me of Waverly Jong's relationship with her mother, Lindo. Both mothers want their daughters to become a success and even brag about them too. The daughters, Waverly and June, both defy their mothers and opposed their wishes but they were also met with some anger and frustration also from their moms. Jing-Mei defied her mother's wishes because she felt like she was losing her identity and wanted to become a more stronger and independent woman. Although she rebelled, the whole existence of most of her life consists of the arguments she has with her mother and the destruction of her dreams which never made her happy. I think it's not until she's an adult that Jing-Mei realizes that being strong doesn't require one to be stubborn and tenacious.
2.I felt that Jing-Mei forced her daughter to become something that she has no desire whatsoever to be and that she only uses her only to further the family's reputation and give her something to boast to her sister. It seemed to me like Jing-Mei's mother didn't have a care at all to what her daughter wanted to be and I felt sorry for a little bit for Jing-Mei, although I was happy that she was one of those girls who speak their own minds and don't comply to other people's demands.
3.It became obvious to me that the two piano pieces, “Perfectly Contented” and “Pleading Child” represent the two kinds of daughters that Jing-Mei's mother was talking to her about. It was revealed to be two halves of the same song in the end and Suyuan wanted her to be the daughter who was obedient, not rebellious. Jing-Mei chose to be the daughter who was independent and spoke her mind, she was the other half of the piano piece, which is “Perfectly Contented”. However, I think that since it was only half of the piece Jing-Mei could try to find a way to become an obedient daughter too without losing much of her identity so that she would please her mother.
4.The life-lesson to be learned here in this chapter is try to not to lose yourself without hurting the ones you love even though you are required to conform to what society wants you to be. Jing-Mei was an obedient child at the start but as she got more pressured by her mom to be a great success, she thought that she was losing her identity and so she began to defy her mom's wishes and rebel against her; “I had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lot's of won'ts. I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not” (134). Her life spiraled down towards a hole when she argued constantly with her mother and eventually they had a falling out. I thought that Jing-Mei took it too far and could never achieve some amount of equilibrium between her duties as a daughter and her desires to become whatever she dreams to be.

Monday, December 29, 2008 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger Hi. Orange without Seeds. said...

Jane Wong
Period 6

1. Two Halves of a Whole
2.Two Kinds
3. This chapter was all about expectations. I actually found it easier than ever to relate to this chapter. Until this day, many parents do expect a lot from their children. There are many reasons to why. There are pros and cons. The pros are that they just want their children to live better lives than them and have what they never could have had. They also just want their children to have the best and become successful. The cons are that a lot more stress is added to the surface. There is never enough time to let the children make their own decisions. It's almost like nothing is ever their own choices. In this case, I saw that Jing-Mei Woo's mother did not give her the option to become what she wanted to become herself, but something completely different. I didn't think it was fair when her mother said, "Only two kinds of daughters. Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!" (153). This was quite an upleasant command and an awful lot to ask for. Everyone should be treated equally and I personally don't believe that children should never have their own rights just because they are the children. Everyone should have a voice in their place at some point. The way her mother put it only seemed unfair and made it seem like Jing-Mei Woo was only in a barricaded prison behind the bars, begging for freedom. To be frank, it was obvious that she knew her own abilities. She knew what she could do and couldn't do. Sure, she did give everything her mother wanted her to do a try, but there wasn't really anything that she really enjoyed herself. A lot of times everyone feels forced at some point to do something that they don't think they can do. It's good to take risks, but it's also good to know what one can do and cannot do.
4. The character relationship in this chapter would be Jing-Mei Woo and her mother of course! Their relationship would be described as a big misunderstanding complexity. Jing-Mei Woo's mother just made it more difficult for Jing-Mei Woo throughout the entire chapter. She made her daughter change her looks, memorize facts and things, and force her to learn the piano. All of these things were not done under Jing-Mei's consent. It's not good to force someone to do something that they don't want to do. People have their reasons and others should respect it even if it means if they are the younger ones. Jing-Mei Woo's mother probably wanted the best for her daughter from beginning to end, but I guess she didn't think far enough to even consider her own daughter's feelings. She didn't even question Jing-Mei if Jing-Mei wanted to do what and what not she rather do. All of this was put under the control of her mother. This kind of relationship would equal unhealthy. But I supposed it could have been fixed if there was just a little bit more understanding inside of there.
5. Amy Tan used a few flashbacks to let the reader see what her mother was like before she passed away. She seemed to be quite a bitter woman who just wanted her daughter to do everything that seemed close to a prodigy. It showed how Jing-Mei Woo went from just being a typical daughter to a daughter who was forced to do everything everyone else could do. Her mother liked to brag about her daughter when the others would brag about their own daughters. Near the end before her mother passed away, the story mentioned how she decided to give the piano back to Jing-Mei Woo. This showed somewhat of a meaningful gift back to her daughter. It said she wasn't mad or happy. She didn't show any emotions. She just wanted to return this. It seemed to me that though her mother had forced her to work so hard in the previous years, she still has a heart somewhere deep inside.
6. a. I think the theme of this chapter is that you cannot be forced to become something you are not. Though her mother didn't approve that Jing-Mei Woo finally talked back to her and even said, "I wish I wasn't your daughter. I wish you weren't my mother!" (153). I thought this part was quite a big hit to her mother and quite some hurtful words said. But they were not out of the blue. They meant something. She meant it. Jing-Mei Woo finally wanted to stand up for something that would make herself happy and not anyone else. In the end, her mother returned the piano to her and the colored sweaters she left behind. So I asusme that her mother was never mad in the beginning. She may have been angry. But she did understand in some way.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 4:28:00 PM  
Blogger brainfarced said...

Eileen Ly from 7th period

Never Perfect

“Two Kinds”

This chapter to me felt familiar, like Tan had put in there just for that with the rest of her stories. I think it was meant to spark a bit of recognition in those with ahem*, parents that expected huge accomplishments in their children. Like my parents, but luckily not as intense as Jing-Mei’s mom. She practically damaged her daughter’s self-esteem by continuously giving her those tests and training. Jing-mei, who felt bad about failing her mother, tried to make up for herself, by holding the pretense that she was a rebellious spirit. In the end, Jing-mei was so busy trying to fail; she forgot how to love her mother back. In the end, her mother just wanted her to be successful, to have a good life. It makes me sad that it all seems like an endless circle. Nonetheless, I think Jing-mei came to peace with her mother when she realized that her mother really did love her for who she was. In most families, kids don’t feel that enough sometimes. They see only the bad side of their parents, instead of seeing the positive pros of washing the dishes or hanging up clothes. They want to teach responsibility to their children, to see them grow up if not happy, then successful. However, I feel that if a child is pushed too far, even love won’t stop anger. That’s why Jing-mei loves and also, hates her mother. Me? I’ve seen enough of this so I have a pretty uninterested outlook on the chapter. For me, it’s the same old same old. Parent wants super smart kid, kid goes “I am what I am.” Parent gets mad, kid gets mad. Fight prevails. Kid when all grown up then begins to appreciate parent. Parent who is dead or alive gets appreciation. Fin.

Moving on, the relationship between Jing-mei and her mother is best described as misunderstood and typical. Her mom expects the best out of Jing-mei but Jing-mei misunderstands her attempts and gets all upset and rebellious over the fact that her mom wants her to have a successful career. Jing-mei promises herself just like how Lindo did and tries to fail. Then she stops trying at all. There’s that one quote about trying. What was it again? Was it something close to “you only fail if you stop trying?” I think it was from Thomas Edison. Anyways, unlike Lindo, Jing-mei doesn’t feel her failure until after the piano recital. Her mother feels that Jing-mei has potential; she can live up to her expectations; that’s why she believes in her, why she attempts to make her a star. It’s typical because most Asian families experience this type of atmosphere at home. However, it’s like eating a cookie that has fallen on the floor and collected dust. I may have parents that push me to the edge and I may not like the taste of it, but I’ll learn to appreciate their efforts, when I’m successful. (Even my parents tell me this.) But I guess it’s better to live up to your own expectations. If you do, then you’ll die peacefully. Wait-that sounded weird…

One thing that Tan uses is symbolism within the musical pieces that Jing-mei plays, “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented”. With these pieces, Tan symbolizes Jing-mei’s life. When Jing-mei finds out that “they were two halves of the same song” (155), she realizes that her mother was never mad at her for failing and she never lost her faith in her daughter.

The theme of the story is “Believe in yourself and never stop trying.) The line that reveals this is: “For unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me.” Jing-mei’s mom believed in her daughter. But her daughter did not believe in herself.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 6:35:00 PM  
Blogger Kimmy T said...

Kimmy Tran
Period 6

1. Two halves of a whole
2. Two Kinds

3. I could relate to this chapter a lot. I know that I have a lot of pressure and expectations from my family that I want to fill but not sure that I can. My parents always push me to get very good grades or get into an exclusive college or club or even play piano well like Jing-Mei. Although I could relate with Jing-Mei, I thought that she should’ve tried harder at the piano. I was mad at her for not even trying to play the piano well even though she knew how much it meant to her mother. I also thought it was totally rude how Jing-Mei talked to her mother near the end of the chapter. She shouldn’t say words that she knew would hurt her mother deeply. I was also annoyed when Jing-Mei said that she didn’t believe that she could be anything she thought she could be. That is no excuse for not trying your hardest at school or dropping out of college.
I was a little confused at the ending. I didn’t understand how “Pleading Child” matched with “Perfectly Contented.” After some thought, I figured it out though.

4. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother can be described as too demanding. Suyuan demands a lot of her daughter. One example of this is the tests that Suyuan makes Jing-Mei do. The mother is making her daughter do outrageous things to see if she is a genius. Some of them are “multiplying numbers in [her] head, finding the queen of hearts in a deck of cards” and “trying to stand on [her] head without using [her] hands” (143). This is way too much to expect for a child to do. Its so demanding that when Jing-Mei sees the disappointment of her mother, “some inside [her] began to die” (144). The demands and high expectation of her mother drive Jing-Mei to the breaking point.

5. Amy Tan includes symbolism in this chapter. At the end, Jing-Mei figures out that the song “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” were two halves of the same song. This represents that the pleading child that Jing-Mei was before is now content. She understands why her mother pushed her so hard. Her mother pushed her so she could be happy, not because she wanted to show her off. It is then she realizes how much her mother cared for her. Jing-Mei also describes the piece “Pleading Child” as shorter but slower and “Perfectly Contented” as longer but faster. This represents the stages of her life. When she was a child, pleading for her mother’s approval, it was a short time but seemed slower to her because it was a sad time. As she grew up, the time she spent contented was long, but it seemed faster, kind of like how time flies by when you’re having fun. Her mother pushed her for a certain amount of time so that Jing-Mei could have a life full of being happy and content with herself.

6. (d. How is this chapter connected to the allegory at the start of the section?)
The allegory in the beginning included a child not listening to her mother, believing that she doesn’t know anything, but in the end the mother was right. The same happens in this story. Jing-Mei doesn’t think that her mother knows much about her and wanted to blame all her unhappiness on her. She thinks that her mother was wrong and that she couldn’t be anything she wanted to be. In the end, Jing-Mei realizes that her mother was right. If she tried harder, then she could be a world famous pianist by now. In both stories, the child realizes that she shouldn’t have doubted their mother and should’ve listened to them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Linda Nguyen said...

“Two Halves of the same Song.”
Two Kinds

To begin with, I think this chapter has a resounding effect on all Asian American children out there. Most, including me, feel the potent pressure from our parents to be the “best” and it seems that the definition of being the best is getting straight A’s, being class president, get into a top university such as Stanford, and becoming some type of doctor. I think that I’m like Jing-Mei a lot because I don’t like being someone I’m not, I’m quite lazy, and I absolutely fear and hate disappointing others, especially my parents. I wasn’t entirely surprised when Jing-Mei’s mother had her take piano lessons. I know many people and have many friends who have either taken piano lessons or violin since they were little. I played the violin for one year in the third grade because it was offered and then decided not to continue afterwards; I only played at one concert. It was a good experience for me to have, because now I can say that I have played an instrument before. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me. In fact, I remember now that I’ve played piano before. I was really young, possibly in the 7 or 8, I don’t exactly recall. But I knew I was in Vietnam visiting my Grandma at her large, grand house. My cousins lived there too and they had a keyboard in the living room and my sister and I would play it for fun. Then my cousins started teaching us how to, with all the “do re me fa so la te.” I remember it was so easy to learn, but I think it was because we were young and they say young children pick up things very easily at a quick rate. Since then, all I know how to play is the simple beginning melody of “A Whole New World” and I find it rather hard to learn all the keys and hand or finger placements… When Jing-Mei noticed the other piano piece entitled “Perfectly Contented” which was the second half of “Pleading Child” I thought that those two pieces perfectly reflected the relationship with her mom. When she was younger her wish was for her mom to stop pushing her to “do her best” and accept her the way she was. But on her 13th Birthday, her mom offered the piano as “a sign of forgiveness” (154). And after the death of her mom, Jing-Mei had the piano tuned and decided to play the pieces “a few times, [realizing] they were two halves of the same song” (155). I think the true realization of Jing-Mei is that her mom never gave her hope that her daughter can do whatever she wanted. The reason why her mom wanted her to do all these things was because she had faith in her, she believed in Jing-Mei as much as she loved her. Her mother only wanted the best for Jing-Mei, for her sake, and all Jing-Mei had to do was try. Knowing that, Jing-Mei’s burden of being a failure is truly lifted and she is content.

Jing-Mei’s relationship with her mother is one of misunderstanding, and blinded intentions. Jing-Mei doesn’t see the real reason why her mom makes her take piano lessons and want her to become famous like Shirley Temple and so she blames all her misery on her mom. In fact, her mom’s dreams for Jing-Mei to try her best were bred from her true faith and love for her daughter. Their relationship was full of expectations and regrets on Jing-Mei’s part and disappointment on her mom’s.

I think Tan likes using symbolism, maybe because she weaves it in so beautifully and seamlessly into her story. In here, the symbolism is from the two piano pieces that Jing-Mei plays at the end. “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” represents her life before and after her fight with her mom, to the time her mom passed away, and when she finally understood why her mom pushed her so hard. And I just noticed that both the titles’ initials are P.C which is pretty cool.

The life lesson here should be obvious by now. When our parent’s want us to our “best,” and go to the top universities and become something great, they simply want us to try because even though we don’t believe in what we might be capable of, they do. Their expectations are not for them, but for us, because they love us and have faith in us. We should try to remember that we are the only ones limiting ourselves, our goals, and dreams by saying “I can’t” or “I won’t” instead of “I can” or “I will.”

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 1:35:00 AM  
Blogger spiderlaurie said...

Pleading Child
Two Kinds

1. I can really indentify with both the mom and the daughter in this chapter. Although my mom is not as aggressive as Jing Mei’s mom, I can still sort of understand how she feels when her mother keeps on pushing her to be her best. As a child, its hard to appreciate all the opportunities we are given. Jing-Mei’s mom worked very hard to provide piano lessons for her daughter, but Jing- Mei did not want to because she was being forced to play. I think every child who plays an instrument can kind of understand Jing-Mei. Practicing an instrument just seems so pointless and tedious. However, from the mom’s point of view, she thinks that America is filled with so many opportunities that she did not have in China, so why not take advantage of this and try to succeed in life? That’s why she does not understand why her daughter is so unwilling to become very good at something. I felt very bad for the mom at the talent show when she heard Jing-Mei play because at that moment, she must feel that she worked so hard for her daughter to have lessons, and it seems like such a waste. I would be very angry too if I were her.
2. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mom is very tense. The mom is always not satisfied with what her daughter is doing, and Jing-Mei refuses to try to please her mother. Her mother thought that Jing-Mei could be anything she wanted as long as she tried, but Jing-Mei was the opposite. She thought that “[she] could be anything [she] wanted to be. [She] could only be [her]” (154). Throughout the years Jing Mei “failed [her mom] so many times, each time asserting [her] own will” (153). Instead of going back to school to please her mom, Jing Mei remained a drop out. Although Jing-Mei was still successful as a writer, her mom did not see that. She did not believe her daughter had reached her full potential.
3. I think Amy Tan uses symbolism in this chapter. The piano song Jing-Mei plays called “Pleading Child” is who she was as a child. She was always begging her mother to accept her for who she was and stop trying to change her. However, by the end of the chapter both mother and daughter have come to peace with who Jing-Mei has become and that is why she is “Perfectly Contented,” which is the name for the second half of the song.
4. The main conflict in this chapter is man to man. Jing-Mei and her mom were always fighting with each other. Her mom was always pushing Jing-Mei to be better and to be at the top, but Jing-Mei wants to be herself. This shows when her mother is disappointed time and time again by Jing-Mei’s failed attempts to be a star.
-Laurie Jeng

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Joanna Trinh said...

She would've been a star one day,
if only she wanted to work as much as to play.
“Two Kinds”

1. “My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America”(141). I don't think that's true. Maybe if you really put your mind to it, but I think some people are just born with natural talent. Many times, as in the case of Jing-Mei, people just don't try hard enough. Maybe you can be anything you want anywhere if you tried hard enough.
I think Jing-Mei is too impatient. She said that if the prodigy in her doesn't come out of herself soon enough, it'll be gone forever “and then [she'll] always be nothing”(143).
When Jing-Mei said that her piano teacher “must have been younger than [she] thought, since he lived with his mother and was not yet married”, I thought it was hilarious (147).
I don't think Jing-Mei tried hard enough. Once she decided to try, it was too late before the talent show. I thought it was really sad how she disappointed her mom, who worked so hard to bring out the best in her.
Jing-Mei was so inconsiderate when she told her mom that she wishes she'd “never been born”(153). That's just really mean.
It's so sad that her mother died without ever having her dream come true. I don't like Jing-Mei.

2. I think Jing-Mei and her mother just misunderstand each other. Jing-Mei thinks that her mother is trying to change who she is, as shown in the scene when she was looking at herself in the mirror. “The girl staring back at me was angry, powerful. This girl and I were the same. I had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lots of I won'ts. I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not”(144). Her mother is only trying to show the world the best in her daughter. Her mother told her that she “only ask you be your best. For you sake. You think I want you be genius? Hnnh! What for! Who ask you!”(146). And even when Jing-Mei failed to please her and the crowd at the talent show, she still really wanted Jing-Mei to continue practicing the piano, to try her best.

3. This chapter had a lot of sense of humor, even in the similes sometimes. Jing-Mei said that her piano teacher's mother “had this peculiar smell like a baby that had done something in its pants. And her fingers felt like a dead person's, like an old peach I once found in the back of the refrigerator; the skin just slid off the meat when I picked it up”(147). That was really funny, and made me smile. I thought Jing-Mei was pretty pathetic when she thought her body would correct her mistakes by itself at the talent show. “I kept thinking my fingers would adjust themselves back, like a train switching to the right track”(150).

4. I think the main conflict in this chapter is Jing-Mei vs. Self. She has to decide if she wants to make her mother proud or not. She has to decide if she wants the world to see what she really has to offer, or run away from her goals/obstacles and give up on life. It's her choice. No one can make her decisions for her.

It's been 2009 for half an hour in New York =]

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 9:30:00 PM  
Blogger Maria.uHHH. said...

“Ni Kan! It’s a pianist! It’s a prodigy! It’s not Jing-mei Woo.”
CH. Two Kinds

3. After reading this chapter, I noticed how I can relate to a lot of the daughters in this novel. In “Two Kinds,” Jing-mei is constantly forced by her mom to become someone or something out of the ordinary. Either it was becoming the next Shirley Temple, or a child piano prodigy, her mother believed that Jing-mei had more talent than she actually showed. When I started to play piano, knew how useless it seemed to practice hours after hours just to perfect something that felt pointless. However, I did not have a deaf teacher or a gullible mom, so I had to perform flawlessly each time; but, as I grew older, I finally started to realize that whenever I felt happy, I would pound out happy tunes on the piano to suit my mood, or when I was sad, the melancholy music would soothe me.
Maybe it was because Jing-mei’s mom wanted her to fulfill her own dream, or maybe because she put all her hope in her, but I believe that if Jing-mei hadn’t been “determined not to try, not to be anybody different” (148), she would have been successful.

4. I would say that the relationship between Jing-mei and Suyuan is very unhappy. Although at first, Jing-mei was also “just as excited as [her] mother, [and] maybe even more so. [She] pictured this prodigy part of [her] as many different images, [and tried] each one on for size” (142). However, even though she was “filled with a sense that [she] would soon become perfect”, “after seeing [her] mother’s disappointed face once again, something inside of [her] began to die” (144). While Suyuan is determined to transform her daughter into a genius, her way of showing guidance just makes Jing-mei keener on not becoming whatever her mom wants her to be.

5. I noticed that Amy Tan uses a lot of symbolism in this chapter. When Jing-mei returned to her mother’s house to take the piano, she tried to play two piano pieces, “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented”. I think Tan was clever to use these two piano pieces and symbolize Jing-mei’s life. At first, Jing-mei was a child who kept on “pleading” her mom not to force her in becoming a genius, but in the end, she apologized to her mom and after they forgave each other, both became “perfectly contented”. After she played the pieces she “realized they were two halves of the same song” (155), two halves of Jing-mei’s that finally came together.

6d. How is this chapter connected to the allegory at the start of the section?
This chapter is tied in with the allegory because the girl that rode the bike was like Jing-mei. She always thought that her mother was trying to be bossy and nagging, when truly, it was all for her own good. After Jing-mei messed up at the recital and “fell off her bike”, she finally realized that all her mother’s intentions were because she loved her and wanted the best for her.

Thursday, January 01, 2009 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger tatztastic said...

Brian Tat
Period 7

Pleaded Child Transformed to Perfectly Contented

Two Kinds

When I read the chapter, I thought the mother was wise in having hope for a brighter future. America is the land of opportunities, and she had great hope for doing about anything. I was displeased, however, to hear that Jing-Mei had just expected for her talent to pop out from nowhere and that she’d be a child prodigy in this talent. Why does Amy Tan italicize the word perfect on page 143? Is she trying to emphasize the fact that there is no such thing as perfect in this world? I felt that Suyuan was foolish to make Jing-Mei perform so many tests in hope for trying to bring out her natural talent, because I believed that most people would have to work hard to try and become a prodigy in the first place. Why didn’t Jing-Mei just try her best with the piano? I used to play the piano for practicing so little and I gave up as a kid for I felt I couldn’t be as great as people had expected. I understand Jing-Mei’s own expectations and worry for talent; however, I believed she should’ve given some effort and patience in practicing the piano. When I read that she had expected her childhood prodigy to pop out at the concert, I wanted to scream at her. How could she suddenly expect talent to pop out of nowhere if she did not even try? I thought to myself, “Oh, God. How can you be so cruel?” It was cruel of how Jing-Mei had even wanted to disown herself as her daughter and mention the two babies from China. Reading “…I failed her so many times, each time asserting my own will, my right to fall short of expectations,” I thought it was obvious that she fail her mother if she didn’t show any effort in the first place (154). I believed that the song titles “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” represented the thoughts Jing-Mei had as a child and adult. As a “pleading child,” she wonders why her mother pushed her to become something. As an adult, however, she is “perfectly contented” for she has matured and grown to the understanding of her mother’s actions of the past.
Suyuan and Jing-Mei’s relationship can be described as strict. Suyuan’s expectations of Jing-Mei to become a child prodigy stressed Jing-Mei. For example, Suyuan gave Jing-Mei many tests in order to try and bring out her natural talent. Jing-Mei, however, purposely failed or did not give any effort in trying. Suyuan’s expectations, however, were a sign of her faith in her daughter’s ability, and not simply changing Jing-Mei into something she wasn’t. Unfortunately, even when Jing-Mei always fell short of her mother’s expectations, it was not until after Suyuan’s death, that Jing-Mei understands her mother’s faith and love in her.

Tan used symbolism in the short story to help the reader discover the meaning between the song titles. The chapter title is called “Two Kinds,” however, readers should ask, “Why is it called ‘Two Kinds’?” The two songs that are included in the chapter title are “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented.” It helps the reader try and understand the meaning between the symbols and characters, allowing them to think from different perspectives to discover this. Tan also used a flashback to describe Jing-Mei’s childhood and include the history of Jing-Mei and Suyuan. The flashback makes the story interesting allowing the reader to explore in the past, for the main conflict is Jing-Mei’s long internal conflict about her mother’s expectations.

The main conflict is Man vs. Man, for Jing-Mei had the conflict with her mother and a different view about her mother’s expectations. I know this, because Jing-Mei always had viewed her mother’s expectations as an attempt to create Jing-Mei into something else. I believe Suyuan, however, had only great faith and love in Jing-Mei’s ability and only wanted her to try her best. Jing-Mei doesn’t learn this until after Suyuan’s death.

Thursday, January 01, 2009 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger amy wang said...

A Pleading Child now Perfectly Contented
Two Kinds
1. I totally did not understand why Jing-Mei’s mom was that intent on forcing her to become a prodigy. A prodigy is something natural, not forced out. I did not like how her mom forced her to do so many things, including things from Ripley’s Believe It or Not. When her mother said that Jing-Mei’s mother said that if she had as much talent as she has temper, she would be famous now, I laughed. That is sort of how it is in my family. When Jing-Mei’s mom was bragging about her to Lindo Jong, I thought it was really unnecessary.
2. Jing-Mei’s relationship with her mother is very complicated. Her mother wants only what is best for her, and for her to try her best. However, Jing-Mei feels like her mother is trying to make her something that she isn’t. Jing-Mei had asked her mom why she didn’t like her the way she was. She had also told her mom that she wasn’t a genius. Her mom replied that she only wished Jing-Mei to be her best.
3. Amy Tan uses symbolism in this chapter. She uses the two pieces at the end of the chapter as Jing-Mei’s life. Before, Jing-Mei is like a pleading child, asking her mother to not force her to be someone she isn’t, asking her mother to accept her for who she is. Later on in her life though, her mother offers her the piano, forgiving her. This shows her mother is content with who she is, that she is not going to force her anymore. Jing-Mei later realizes that Pleading Child and Perfectly Contented were two halves of the same song, that they are one. Jing-Mei’s life has finally become one with her mother’s.
4. This chapter relates to the allegory at the beginning of the section. Jing-Mei is the girl riding the bicycle. She does not listen to her mother because she feels that her mother only wants to control her life and to tell her what to do. However, Jing-Mei’s mother, like the girl’s mother, only wants what is best for her daughter. She only wants to protect her from the dangers in life because she knows that they are there, while her daughter does not.

Thursday, January 01, 2009 8:02:00 PM  
Blogger Trung said...

Trung Tran
Two Halves of the Same
“Two Kinds”

1.I felt like I could relate to this chapter. A lot, if not all, Asian parents expect their kids to be prodigies. They want their kid to be the best in the class and to have straight A’s. However, it made me mad to see much pressure Jing-Mei Woo’s mother was pushing her. She should just accept the fact that her kid was not a prodigy. Forcing her kid to be something she isn’t, especially if her kid does not like it, is wrong. Forcing and encouraging is two different things. Jing-Mei Woo had every right to be mad at her mother.

2.The relationship between Suyuan and her daughter Jing-Mei is difficult due to Suyuan’s obsession of child prodigies. Because of that, Jing-Mei is convinced she has to be a child prodigy. After her failure, she loses all her self esteem and it’s all her mother’s fault. The pressure Jing-Mei’s mother is putting on her makes her blind and even if she was good at the piano, with so much pressure from her mother, she would not be able to play on her own free will. Suyuan and her daughter’s relationship is like almost all Asian parents and their kids. They want them to be the best at everything. However, Suyuan’s obsession is too extreme which keeps Jing-Mei from being the best she can be. It actually had an opposite effect. She should be encouraging her daughter and not pushing her so hard.

3.Amy Tang used a symbolism near the end of the story like in almost all her stories. When Jing-Mei came back to play the piano after all these years, it was suddenly easier to play. The first piece was called “Pleading Child”. This symbolizes when she was a child, she always plead her mom to just stop pressuring her and making her play the piano. She always thought her mom was disappointed in her. The second piece was called “Perfectly Contented”. This symbolized that maybe her mother was actually fine with her not being a prodigy. She just wanted her to be her best. Her mother was content and never lost faith in her daughter.

4.The internal conflict in this story is Jing-Mei and herself. She has low self esteem because her mother keeps pressuring her. And when she fails, her esteem falls quickly because her mother isn’t comforting but rather looks disappointed. Her mother expects so much from her that Jing-Mei is convinced since she was little that she had to be a prodigy. She cannot be anything less.

Thursday, January 01, 2009 8:29:00 PM  
Blogger Brendan said...

Two Kinds

1. This chapter I thought was the closet chapter to relate to the allegory at the beginning of the chapter. It had more meaning to it and could easily be traced back to modern day. Jing-Mei seemed like a typical girl or boy today. Today life is so easy most people don’t try hard. They think “why should I do it?” or “I suck, why should I”. I thought that Jing-Mei was just lazy like the rest of us today; she said she was bad when she didn’t even try to be good. Waverly wasn’t just a genius but she tried. She worked hard and spent time studying and learning the pieces. Unlike Jing-Mei who quit before she even started, I believe she could’ve been good if she tried.
2. I would compare Jing-Mei’s relationship with her mother just like a mother-daughter relationship. Her mom cares about her and just wants her to do her best just like most mothers today. They want there children to be the best they can be, and the child just refuses. In a way, it was a rough relationship but Jing-Mei finally realizes what she can do when she’s older. She didn’t want to push herself; she just wanted to be like everyone. They just try hard enough to get them far enough they don’t want to over-achieved and be excellent. Her mother constantly tries to push her just like a mother would do. Her mother has expectations for Jing-Mei. Jing-Mei, however, kept trying to lower her mother’s expectation, therefore lowered herself.
3. The piano in this chapter can be used for symbolism. The piano was her mother’s forgiveness but can also be Jing-Mei’s talent. She played music that she didn’t like, but after time when she finally returned to it, she saw it was much easier then she had looked at it.
4. This relates back to the allegory at the beginning because Jing-Mei wouldn’t listen to her mother and therefore she fell. She fell to the laziness of all the Americans today. Everyone today is lazy and don’t want to try, her mother wanted to be her best and she didn’t listen. Just like falling from the bike, she fell from her potential.

Friday, January 02, 2009 1:13:00 PM  
Blogger hi,imterri said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, January 02, 2009 7:12:00 PM  
Blogger hi,imterri said...

1. “I am what I am, I know what I’m not”

2. Two Kinds

3. I liked reading this chapter because Jing-Mei’s parents are similar to my own. They expected their child to do something that she did not wish to participate in. Jing-Mei’s mom, Suyuan, forced her daughter to become a famous Chinese Shirley Temple (which I found as odd), geography genius, math wiz, and other ridiculous things. She also expected her daughter to become a piano prodigy, so she even bought a piano and paid Old Chong, who was deaf, to give Jing-Mei daily piano lessons. I think this wasn’t really fair for Jing-Mei. She should have the opportunity to take part in something that she enjoys. Even if she ended up playing the piano well, she won’t be happy doing it. The only reason she stuck with it as long as she did was because of her parents. She wanted to be “perfect” in their eyes. She wanted her “mother and father to adore her” (143). This was how I felt when my parents put me in piano lessons, which I took for about seven consecutive years. (I quit two to three years ago). My parents told all of our family members that I was so talented, like Suyuan told Waverly’s mother about her own daughter. Of course, it always got tiring and to see it on paper made it even more annoying. If I didn’t like Waverly’s character in “The Rules of the Game”, I hate her even more now. She was so mean to Jing-Mei when she said, “You aren’t a genius like me” (151). Jing-mei wanted to punch Waverly in the stomach, but didn’t. Don’t worry Jing-Mei; I would’ve done it for you. I felt that Waverly’s comment was so rude and unnecessary. She shouldn’t have said that to her face.

4. Jing-Mei and her mother didn’t have the strongest mother-daughter relationship that one could have. Suyuan wanted her daughter to become a child prodigy, while Jing-Mei only wanted to simply be herself by doing what she enjoys. She wanted to be her own self and carry her own set of rules and expectations. It wasn’t until two days after her humiliating performance at the piano concert that she finally told her parents what she really felt. Jing-Mei screams, “Then I wish I wasn’t your daughter. I wish you weren’t my mother (153).” This scene shows that she does not accept her mother's wishes, so she decides to rebel by stating her true feelings.

5. In Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan included symbolism in this chapter by using the piano song titles, “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented”. Jing-Mei narrates, “After I played them both a few times, I realized they were two halves of the same song” (155). This quote means that a child who is obedient will be happy, which would’ve made Jing-Mei’s relationship with Suyuan more tolerable than it was before.

6. The conflict in this chapter was between Jing-Mei and her mother Suyuan. Jing-Mei wishes for her mother to be satisfied with her, and to not expect so much from her. (Hmm, doesn’t this sound familiar? [; ) Suyuan, on the other hand, always pushed her daughter to do all these random tests, hoping that Jing-Mei would be a "prodigy."

Friday, January 02, 2009 7:14:00 PM  
Blogger Andy Lam said...

1.Misunderstood Voice of Wisdom
2.Two Kinds
3.When I read this chapter, I realized that I had already read it sometime in middle school, so I knew what happened in this whole chapter. I could understand the expectations of Suyuan Woo, but I still thought they were set a bit too high. I read on about all the tests that Suyuan gave to Jing-Mei, and I discovered that I’m certainly no prodigy because I can’t remember the capitals of all the states or most of the European countries, finding the queen of hearts in a deck of cards, stand on my head without using my hands, or predicting the daily temperatures in Los Angeles, New York, and London, look at a page in the Bible for three minutes and remember a lot of things. Suyuan didn’t know that she pushed her own daughter into self-doubt, and somehow turning rebellious. I believed that after a while she was determined to go against her mother’s wishes. Then, after Suyuan watched an Ed Sullivan show, I realized that she was asking Jing-Mei for another skill that Jing-Mei didn’t have, but this one was a much simpler one to accomplish. The piano is not too hard to learn because I know a lot of people who can play it terrifically. Even though I think that Jing-Mei could probably have been great or at least adept at playing piano, because of her fights with her mother she chose not to and instead purposely denied to work hard on practicing piano. Then, when the talent show came along and Jing-Mei was entered, she was terrible at it for not practicing and Suyuan was grief stricken. She was emotionless, which is the same when my mom is very mad at me. Then, as I read the ending about the two songs being two halves of one larger song, it occurred to me that a pleading child and being perfectly contended was what Jing-Mei was. She was pleading when she didn’t want her mother to push her to become a prodigy and was perfectly contended with what she already was and didn’t strive to work better. It was at that moment that I realized that Suyuan didn’t expect Jing-Mei to be a prodigy, just to try your best and work hard at it.
4.The relationship between Suyuan and Jing-Mei is one that is quaky. It has lots of drama between them, like Suyuan wanting her daughter to become a prodigy or become famous, but Jing-Mei is probably incapable of doing just that. After lots of tests that Suyuan forced on Jing-Mei, she eventually “performed listlessly, her head propped on one arm. She pretended to be bored” (144).Sadly, she was determined to not let her mother change who she was, whether it was for the better or the worse. Afterwards, all the tests her mother put fourth for her was neglected by Jing-Mei in the manner of being bored with them. Even something like piano lessons, which many people take and become proficient at, was taken with only one thought in mind: to purposely go against her mother’s wishes. It seems like Jing-Mei was forced by her mother to hate her own mother. Jing-Mei became someone who hated her own mother because she wanted her to achieve greater things, to reach higher than she already does. She wanted to push Jing-Mei to be a more knowledgeable person, but she failed. It was after she tried to make Jing-Mei practice piano again when Jing-Mei was furious to try and disappoint her that she wished she wasn’t Suyuan’s daughter. After that, when Suyuan told her it was too late to change that, she screamed in frustration “I wish I’d never been born! I wish I were dead! Like them” (153), “them” referencing to the two children Suyuan had abandoned by the side of the road a long time ago in China, which seemed to have pierced her weak point and she immediately stopped trying to make her practice piano.
5.Amy Tan uses symbolism to strike at the reader’s memory. It etched into my brain a very memorable part at the end where the two pieces of music were two halves of the same song. I was amazed at how she was able to etch an idea as simple as that so artistically and creatively. She put the idea that someone can be both a pleading and perfectly contended person at the same time into a nice unexpected package. Seeing the old piano already brought back moments of her battles against her mother, and suddenly bringing something like this made me realize that she was both pleading to not be pushed to becoming a prodigy and contended because that’s how she felt about herself, perfect as she already was.
6.The life lesson of this chapter is that one should always keep improving oneself. There is no perfect human, which is why everyone should keep striving and pushing themselves to get closer to perfect. Never stop trying because if improved you will do much greater deeds. The theme of this chapter is that whatever your parents force you to learn is for your own good, no matter how unreasonable it may seem, like Jing-Mei being forced to learn piano, or her being forced to try and become a prodigy, which would make Jing-Mei acquire a new talent. But because of her own stubbornness to oppose her mother, she never did get to learn everything her mother tried to make her learn, which at last ended up hurting her and not her mother. Basically, your parents mean well, so try to do what they say.

Friday, January 02, 2009 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tina Truong said...

1) The Obedient vs. The Independent
2) The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates “Jing-mei Woo: Two Kinds”

3) As I read this chapter, Jing-mei Woo filled me with disappointment. The story itself was eloquent; it showed vivid emotions that I can imagine a child of today’s time doing: kicking and screaming. I was able to connect myself with Jing-mei, however, I wouldn’t say that I was ever disrespectful to my own parents the way she was. Probably my greatest motivation was envisioning myself taking a trip to the bathroom with my mom and then facing a long bamboo feather duster. It kept me on my toes and encouraged me to not be rebellious. My parents also never expected me to be Shirley Temple, know all of the European countries, finding the queen of hearts in a deck of cards, standing on my head without using my hands (they would never let me do that…too afraid that I would break my neck or something), predicting temperatures or memorizing a Bible page in three minutes. However, my mom did have the dream for me to exceed playing “Old MacDonald on the piano. The story was sad for me to read because it was like having to reread my own failures. I started taking piano lessons in second grade and quit four years later. To say the truth, I never liked it. I personally found it unbelievably dull. It wasn’t until another four years later that she told me that it was her dream to learn how to play the piano; it was just that her family was too poor to pay for it. It could have been a source of motivation if she had told me sooner, but now eight years have passed. Back then, when I did have the time, I was too lazy to keep it up, now that I want to try, I simply don’t have the time. So reading this chapter, it made me really mad that Jing-mei wasn’t able to appreciate what her mother was doing for her. Didn’t understand that her mother was exchanging house-cleaning for her lessons. Still, I have to admit that Suyuan set her expectations way too high.
It made me angry at how Jing-mei just gave up. Although she claimed that she didn’t want to play anymore because she was “not a genius,” (152), it was clearly shown that Jing-mei strived to fail to upset her mother. She even stated that “[she] was so determined not to try, not to be anybody different…” (148) which was really foolish of her because finding a talent or skill within herself wouldn’t mean that she would change herself.

4) There is definitely an overly expressed, not-so-kind relationship between mother and daughter in this chapter, but the two people I want to focus on whose relationship wasn’t quite as significant was that of Jing-mei and Waverly Jong. I would describe that relationship as sisterly rivalry. Being the same age, Jing-mei states that “We had grown up together and shared all the closeness of two sisters squabbling over crayons and dolls. In other words, for the most part, we hated each other,” (148). Plain as white bread, it was clearly written and I don’t think I could find a way to describe it any further. Just that they continued to step over one another at the talent show. Waverly, the famous one, was snooty, always thinking that she is better and Jing-mei, who is often jealous, said that she would have “pulled her braids and punched her stomach,” (151).

5) The most significant writing technique that Amy Tan used in this chapter was symbolism. It came along most strongly at the very end. The chapter ending with Jing-mei playing two songs: “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” and then the two songs were said to be “two halves of the same song,” (155). It improves the story because it made me think. It made me ponder about what the importance of those two songs was and why Tan used them to close the chapter. The songs made the chapter seem open-ended, but then they have a meaning that closes up the story with a sweet taste in our mouths. My interpretation for the two songs is that the song “Pleading Child” represented Jing-mei. She kind of pleaded her mother to she the real her and try to mot make her be someone she wasn’t and had no intention of becoming. The song “Perfectly Contented” gave me the idea that because the tough situation that cause tension between mother and daughter had finally ended and she was happy about it.

6) (b. What is the main conflict in the chapter? Is it internal or external, human vs. self, vs. society, vs. nature, vs. human and how do you know?)
I think that the main conflict in this chapter is external, human vs. human. This conflict focused on the ongoing drama between Suyuan and her daughter Jing-mei Woo. It is shown throughout the chapter from start to finish. In the beginning, Suyuan seems to expect a lot from her daughter and wants to find a talent for Jing-mei by forcing her to take a bunch of test with no purpose. In the middle, they suffer problems that result from her mother wanting Jing-mei to succeed at the piano and Jing-mei purposely striving to fail. In the end, I think that it wasn’t until Suyuan died, or at least until she recognized her mother’s sign of forgiveness, that Suyuan was only hoping for her to do her very best.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 1:40:00 AM  
Blogger MMMMymy_ said...

1. “Stop! I Just Can’t Do It!”
2. Two Kinds
3. I can really relate to Jing-Mei Woo in this chapter. The way her mother pressures her reminds me of the way my parents pressure me in school. Her mother only wants her daughter to be the best, to have a reason to be proud of her. This isn’t exactly the right thing to do, her mother should be already proud of what Jing-Mei already is. Suyuan Woo (the mother) pushes her daughter to have all these talents, and be something she’s not. My parents also do the same, and push me into studying hard and getting accepted into a good college. Recently, it’s been more of my choice to become what I want, I don’t take in their word for it. But in Jing-Mei’s case, she takes in everything her mother wants to do and tries her hardest to perfect it. I bet the many failed attempts to find her talent discouraged her, and I felt bad that her mother tried so hard to change her. I feel like Jing-Mei’s self esteem got shot down really low, after every single time she couldn’t be ‘talented’ or have the right skills. The feeling of failure hurts really badly, and Jing-Mei probably didn’t want to face it again. She ended up giving up…in everything. She stopped caring about getting a 4.0, she didn’t get into a good college, and she even dropped out of college. I think Jing-Mei just didn’t want to care anymore because when one doesn’t care, there’s nothing to be hurt over. The scene where Jing-Mei shouts at her mother, wishing that she was never born was really intense. I think this pulled a trigger in Suyuan’s mind that told her to stop pushing because it only made her daughter break down into pieces. Unfortunately, this broke the mother daughter bond, and Suyuan no longer showed affection towards her daughter. In the end, a few years before her mother passes away, she is given the piano back. The piano was the only thing Jing-Mei was close to perfecting; too bad she just stopped trying. I’m pretty sure Suyuan was proud of what talent Jing-Mei already had, she was just too afraid to show it. I think she just didn’t want her to become conceited, and stop playing. Jing-Mei accepts the piano, and when her mother passes away, she polishes up the piano, and practices the little talent she had on the piano. She brings back the hope and love her mother used to have for her while she was still alive. The one thing that really confused me in this chapter was why would her mother try so hard to make her daughter have a talent? Was she really obsessed with showing off to her friends? Why was this so important to her?
4. The relationship between Jing-Mei and Waverly can be described as a raging rivalry. The two mothers of the daughters both want their child to be talented and “better” than other children. They both pressure the girls into working extra hard to build up their talent, but in the end the two girls disrespect their mothers out of anger. Still, the two battle against each other competing to be the better girl. Waverly stands proud of her incredible chess talent, while Jing-Mei tries to be proud of her piano skills. On the contrary, Jing-Mei never practiced enough to be amazing at piano, and loses the battle against Waverly. After Jing-Mei’s terrible performance, instead of giving a few encouraging words, Waverly comes up to her and says “You aren’t a genius like me.” Clearly there was major tension between the two.
5. Amy Tan uses the technique of flashback to start out the story. Jing-Mei is a grown woman, and thinks back to the time she was a child. She tells the story of her childhood and how her mother pressures her into learning skills that she was incapable of. This molds her into the person she is today. As a child, she couldn’t take the pressure and forgets that she has potential to become a better person. She tells us about her mother’s forgiveness, her mother’s death, her lesson learned from the big incident. With the flashback we understand what went on in her mind, and her big change, growing up. It gives us a sense of sympathy for Jing-Mei and her mother, instead of looking at her situation without knowing the past behind it.
6. The theme of this story is to remember who you are, and not let the words or others discourage you. Jing-Mei listened to her mother so many times that she lost herself in trying to please her mother. She tries to do all these special things, and always fails. When she couldn’t take it any longer, she breaks down and lets go of everything she has the ability to do. She becomes discouraged, and doesn’t have the inspiration to strive for the best. If Jing-Mei would’ve followed her heart, and aspired for what she liked, she might have had a different life, and did something her mother would’ve been proud of.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 1:52:00 AM  
Blogger kristin x] said...

Who said I wanted to?
Two Kinds
1. Suyuan was a stereotypical Asian parent in this chapter, she kept pushing Jing-mei to do something she didn't really want to, but it was supposed to be for her benefit. Suyuan has good intentions; she really wants her daughter to succeed. I can relate a little, because my mom wants e to do my best, but she doesn’t push me like crazy to succeed. She’s happy as long as I’m not failing. I thought it was funny how Jing-mei wouldn’t actually learn much at the practices she had every day. She tricked her teacher by keeping time, but she cheated herself because she was horrible at a talent show.
2. Suyuan and Jing-mei have a typical mother-daughter relationship. There’s fighting and arguing, but there’s also kindness and love. Throughout her childhood, Jing-mei thought she upset her mom because of failure, but she still loved Suyuan when she grew up and realized how much her mom did for her.
3. Flashbacks provide a good background on the Woos in this chapter. They explain a lot about relationships and give insight into how the characters changed and developed over the years. The flashbacks showed how Suyuan was before she died and gave more depth to her character. The habits she had and the colorful knit sweaters she made showed more of who she was and her personality. We also learned that she saw a million opportunities in America.
4. I think the main problem in the chapter is that Jing-mei is under so much pressure to be a prodigy that she refuses to even try. This is both man vs. man and man vs. society. There are a lot of other child prodigies in the society and time she lived in, and then there’s the push from Suyuan to be amazing, so she’s facing pressure from all around her.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger PeterThai said...

1. Sorry Ma, I am who I am.
2. Two Sides
3. Reading this chapter, I feel as thought I could relate to Jing-Mei. Her mother would always push her to being the best at everything and getting good grades as if she was born to be a prodigy. I feel a lot of Asian parents do this to their kids but the parents never consider the child’s feeling. To me, this seems a bit selfish but all of this is for the best for their child and maybe something to tell their friends about. What I like about her mother is that she always encouraged her daughter and always said she could do it.
4. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother seemed like they didn’t understand each other a lot. Jing-Mei thought her mother would push her to being the best and treat her as if she was a prodigy for her to show off to family members and friends but I think at the same time she had good intentions for her as well. Her mother who thinks what she is doing is all good, is not true. Her high expectation and obsession of being a prodigy for being good at what Jing-Mei did at everything is bad because when Jing-Mei fails, that lowers her self-esteem and pushes towards why she believe she could not do anything.
5. When reading this chapter, I noticed Amy Tan used symbolism. At the end of the chapter, when Jing-Mei looks back into her piano bench, she finds the two music sheet called “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” which are two halves of the same song. These two pieces relate to Jing-Mei’s life of how when she was young she wanted her mother to accept for who she is and at the end her mother is happy with the way she is and Jing-Mei finally realizes that her mother only wanted the best for her and not for her to be a prodigy.
6. I think the theme of this is that your parents only have good intentions when pushing you to try your best at new things. If you try and do your best, you better yourself as a person even if you fail. You also learn and gain experience from trying new things, living life to the fullest. Her mother’s intentions to becoming a prodigy and forcing her to take piano lessons were not because she thought she was a prodigy, but allow her experience these things and benefit herself as a person. Since Jing-Mei did not listen and try new things, she only stopped herself from growing as a person.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 2:17:00 PM  
Blogger christinehwang said...

Pleading Child, Perfectly Contented

Focusing on: Two Kinds

This chapter as a whole made me wonder, "wow, are all Asian moms like this?"Jing-mei and Suyuan Woo's scenario scarily reminded me of the dilemma that I had and sometimes still have with my mother, being that I started playing piano through my mother's "good intentions." Like Jing-Mei, or in other words June, who hated learning piano, I also hated piano during the first few years of learning. Also, ironically, just like June, I only became fond with and learned the importance of playing piano once I grew up. One scene that made me think this was the scene in which Jing-mei discovered that Pleading Child and Perfectly Contented were two halves of the same song. June would have never been able to achieve this if she did not go beyond the hates she had towards piano, which she was able to do once she became an adult. Once I went past this stage, I also was able to achieve much more by, discovering a hidden joy for piano and finding opportunities to play piano for other causes. One scene that convinced me that my mom was like Suyuan was when Suyuan said in response to June's complaints and cries, " 'Who ask you to be genius?,' " " 'Only ask you be your best. For you sake.' " This line made me get a sense of deja vu in that what she said was way too similar to what my mom would tell me.Though I may have not been as rebellious as Jing-mei and my mom was not as strict as Suyuan, I believe that we are able to totally connect with this chapter. Two Kinds also portrayed the fact that sometimes, the only way you can really appreciate something or someone is once they are gone.

One adjective to describe the relationship between June and her mother is " incomplete ". I believe that Amy Tan was trying to symbolize piano learning with the relationship between June and her mom. When June sits down at the piano again, reminiscing about her past, it is expressed that she thinks that, "it was a good piano." Ironically, though she hated even the slightest thought of playing the piano, she was now drawn to it and even complementing and admiring it. Just like how June is only able to regret and miss the importance of her piano playing after she stops learning how to play, she is only able to regret and realize the importance of what her mother said and did once she is gone. Like her piano learning, Jing-mei's relationship with Suyuan was incomplete and had,in a sense, so much potential.

One writing technique that Amy Tan uses in this chapter is simile. An example of this was shown when Tan expressed staccato playing as being like the "march," of, "an obedient soldier." Her use of simile in this passage helped teach readers what stacatto playing was, and in general all her explanations of different types of piano playing were understandable and entertaining to read about. Thus, her use of similes helped the story flow, despite the many facts about piano playing.

I believe that this chapter connects with the allegory in that they are both trying to expose the same theme. This theme being that "children should listen to their mothers, because their mothers know what's best for them." Just like the disobedient daughter who does not believe what her mother says about the The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, June doesn't trust what her mother says about being a "prodigy" and "becoming whatever you want to become." These two daughters are rebellious and go against their mothers because they do not believe in their mothers' words and thus become disobedient daughters who, in the words of Suyuan, "follow their own mind."Also, just like the disobedient daughter in the beginning of the story, June realizes that her mother is correct only once she "falls," or in this case, only when her mother is gone.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 4:13:00 PM  
Blogger Steeveen said...

1. I am unwritten
2. Two Kinds
3. In this chapter, I can relate so much to Jing-Mei Woo. From her pressuring parents wanting her to be all that she can be to her rivalry sisterhood with Waverly Jong, I have live them all. It is very typical for Asian parents to want their kids to overachieve in life, simply because they hope their kids will have a better life than they did. However to us kids, some of those lectures and those long hours of tedious work are just too much for us. We then break down and basically lose it, just like Jing-Mei when she screamed and said all those nasty things to her mother during the piano bench incident. My parents are constantly nagging me about schoolwork and keeping up my grades. I know they want the best for me but sometimes it is just a lot to take it in.
I grew up with a good friend and all of our parents are close as well. We were basically twins in general. Everywhere one went, the other would follow. However as we started to start school and other activities, rivalry started to flare. We were always comparing; who was taller, who got better grades, everything. Our parents were very proud of us, so each week, they would boast to each other, and again, we were put against each other, seeing who was better. I found this rather annoying. I mean, why my parents can’t just accept me and stop bragging or comparing. Either way, I’m still their kid.
4. The relationship between Jing-Mei Woo and her mother is a typical Asian parent-
child relationship. The parent would demand and push their kids to their limits,
making them into something they’re not. In this case, Jing-Mei was forced to
become a prodigy. Though the parent only wants what is best for their kid, they
do not notice that their kids are overwhelmed and very stress, just like Jing-Mei
was. Also, Jing-Mei does not appreciate all the hard work and time that her
mother put into her. She only thinks that her mother wants to show her off, rather
than thinking about her own good and health. Both do not look at it from the
other’s point of view, therefore, fights and harsh terms are said, then regretted.
5. Amy Tan used flashbacks in this chapter. The story starts off with Jing-Mei Woo
remembering about her past childhood with her nagging mother. Key events in her childhood tell us and give us a glimpse of the type of person Jing-Mei Woo is. We learned about their personalities, characteristics, and habits through these flashbacks.
6. The conflict in this chapter was human vs. human. Jing-Mei was against her
mother’s wishes of her becoming a prodigy. Jing-Mei didn’t want to be forced to do anything, yet her mother kept on with high hopes that someday Jing-Mei would pull it off. However, the two with unopened minds soon clashed and things that weren’t suppose to be said slipped out, hurting and destroying the mother-daughter relationship that which is most important of all.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 7:33:00 PM  
Blogger Rachhhh said...

1. Mommy Madness

2. “Two Kinds”

3. This chapter makes a lot of sense. The pressure that June experiences is something that many teenagers today are exposed to. Their parents want them to be good at something, to be some kind of prodigy. I hear from so many friends about how their parents push them to do everything, to get good grades, be in a sport, play an instrument, do community service . . . I just do not think this is healthy for kids! They cannot be good at everything, and as well as wearing them out and leaving no time for social lives, it makes them feel bad! Most kids end up feeling like a failure if they cannot live up to their parents expectations.

4. I would describe the relationship between June and her mother as contentious. They are at odds over what June is capable of doing. June eventually decides to “put an end to her [mother’s] foolish pride,” and ends up doing herself in in the process. The sad part is that June and her mother never resolved their problem. It could have been a childhood rebellion, or her mother explaining that she only wanted the best for June. But Suyuan dies before any of this tension can be put to rest.

5. At the very end of the chapter, Amy Tan uses symbolism to show how June learned to only be herself. When she looks at her old piano book and plays the song “Pleading Child,” it symbolizes how she always wanted her mother to accept her. The song “Perfectly Contented” symbolizes the fact that she wanted her mother to be content with the daughter she was, not the daughter she wasn’t. June says, “after I played them both a few times, I realized they were two halves of the same song.”

6. The theme of this chapter is what mothers miss out on if they push their children to be someone they aren’t. Suyuan always tried to force June to be good at something, and in effect made her feel bad at everything. We can see that most of the reason for this is bragging rights, she was always trying to compare June to Waverly, and it always seemed as if she didn’t measure up. Maybe if Suyuan would have praised June more, June might have achieved more due to higher self-esteem.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 7:49:00 PM  
Blogger ashleen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 9:16:00 PM  
Blogger Elise N. said...

1.“Put It Together”
2.“Two Kinds”
3.This chapter wasn’t very enjoyable for me, because Jing-mei and Suyuan are constantly on each other’s case. It makes me feel tense the whole time. Jing-mei just digs a deeper and deeper hole for herself when she decides to defy all of her mother’s wishes. Her mother pressures her too much and makes her feel small. For the most part, this chapter was frustrating. It was a little funny though, when “Old Chong” came into the story, and Jing-mei discovered that she could cheat while taking her lessons with him. In the end of the chapter, I just felt very sorry for both of them, because neither person had decided to initiate an apology or an attempt to make up.
4.I felt that Jing-mei and Suyuan’s relationship was off to a good start in the beginning, but as Jing-mei started to give up on herself, her misery seemed to leech onto her mother. By the end of the chapter, I concluded that their relationship was unsuccessful, because Jing-mei did not try to achieve things, and neither of them tried to mend the gap between them that was the day Jing-mei quit learning piano for good. Their relationship never progressed it seemed, they only got older, and stopped communicating as much. To add to it, they were both opposites. Suyuan was always looking forward to the future and being hopeful, while Jing-mei was just submissive, and accepted what she had, even if she could have done better.
5.I thought the symbolism in this chapter improved the story, because otherwise, it just seemed like any old mother-daughter separation. It seemed to sum up Jing-mei’s changes as a stubborn child to a “content” one. When she learns to play “Pleading Girl,” I think she is the pleading girl – the child begging not to have to learn more or try at anything. When she plays the old piano again after her mother’s death, and gives “Perfectly Contented” a go, I think it represents her second stage in life, where she accepts everything and does not strive for anything better.
6.I’m sure that the “theme” or “life lesson” has revealed itself by now. I think that it is simply “believe in yourself.” Despite the fact that parents often pressure their child(ren) to do better and better, they do not mean to make it a life or death situation. The fact is, they just want to have their child to do the best possible, and to not regret or miss out on anything that “could have been.” I think that the life lesson in this chapter is revealed by reflecting upon what Jing-mei says, “I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me.” She is giving up hope, when she should not be. By considering what she said, one should do the opposite, and avoid leading a life where one could have done better.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger johnnyappleseed said...

Johnny Chu
Period 7

1. Not as hard as you think until you try harder
2. Two Kinds
3. Jing-Mei Woo was a girl that had no special talents. However, her mother wanted her to be a prodigy. After many tries in many different things her mother wanted her to be a concert pianist. This mother is like any typical Chinese or Asian mother since they always want their kids at the top or good at something. But the high expectations created failure instead of success. The push and rush for the child to success back fired and made the situation worse. When Jing-Mei performed in the talent show she messed up her piece and brought shame to the family. She even got made fun of by Waverly, her childhood rival. She became a disobedient child. Her mother said that there are only two kinds of daughters obedient or ones with the minds of their own. She chose to be disobedient. She never became successful and even dropped out of college. I think that just because failure in one thing doesn’t mean you need to give up in life because you can try something else or just try harder.
4. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother was good at first, but slowly became bad after the concert. Which was really caused because her mother forced her to play piano again two days after the talent show? I guess it wasn’t a good idea since Jing-Mei had lost her hopes in becoming a piano prodigy. The relationship between Waverly and Jing-Mei was not good since their mothers would just brag about them, but Waverly seem to be better than her. They were basically just rivals and never talked to each other. One time after Jing-Mei failed at her talent show she made fun of her and bragged that she will never be as good as her. I think it was just weird for that to happen between the kids.
5. Amy Tan used lots of adjectives and vividly described the scene of the failure when Jing-Mei messed up on her song. How the people looked and how her parents looked was clearly described. The atmosphere was also seen clearly as if I was there.
6c. The obvious Chinese custom or culture is that parents want their children to be brilliant. They also want them to be smart and expect them to be obedient.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 3:26:00 AM  
Blogger Ha Duong, Period 6! said...

“Sorry, I’m Sorry”

2. JING-MEI WOO: “Two Kinds”

3. For the majority of the chapter, I was really mad at Jing-Mei Woo for not working harder, not for her mother, but for herself. Initially, I thought the chapter was going to be super cute and Woo would find her “hidden talent”, because of all of the drilling, practices and magazines that her mother and worked together on. How they had tried so hard to find her talent, and how they both enjoyed it. But when Woo began to feel disappointed in herself because of her mother’s unmasked disappointment, I began to get mad. Of course I felt sorry for Woo at first, because who wants to disappoint the people they care about most? But I still felt that she should have never given up on finding something she was good at, because even if she didn’t want to be her mother’s “slave” or whatnot, she still should have done it for herself. Maybe I didn’t understand, because my parents never hade very big expectation for me, but I know they’ve been disappointed in me before; to me, the best way to relieve yourself of disappointment is to work harder, which I wish Woo would have done. Even though she may not have been the best in any of the things she tried, but if she worked hard enough, she could gain some skills that may be covetable to others in the future. My mom always said, “Who’re you working for? Why are you complaining to me about your grades? You work for yourself, and not for anyone else.” Instead of thinking that she was working for her mother, she should have considered herself. Even her mother had said, “Only ask you be your best. For you sake. You think I want you be genius? Hnnh! What for! Who ask you” (146). Woo should’ve have worked harder for her sake. It just really angered me that she couldn’t see that her mother was only doing this all for her, because she wanted her daughter to become the best she could be, for her daughter to not waste the opportunity that lay in America – the country that she worked so hard to come to, to make a better life for her and her (future) family.

I was further flabbergasted by Woo’s behavior because of her awful performance in the talent show. I thought, “Maybe this talent show will force Woo to work harder so she won’t embarrass her self!” but in the end, she did anyway. Her ignorance to realize that everyone would see her performing in her usual manner would embarrass not only her, but also the rest of her family. I really hoped that Woo would have more consideration for others, if she really didn’t like piano that much. I also didn’t like the way Woo treated “Old Chong” during the practices. Even if she was deaf, she should have given at least some effort to make sure she got the right notes and should have worked harder to practice. I was annoyed by the way she didn’t work her hardest, when her mother was cleaning Mr. Chong’s house just so she could learn how to play the piano. Overall, I was upset with Woo’s amazing lack of effort.

But even with Woo’s lack of effort, I was also discontent with Woo’s mother. I thought it would be better if she had just given her daughter more space to grow on her own, let her find her own interests and talents. Maybe that way, she would have really become a “prodigy”, or something of the sort. Pushing someone is good, but sometimes when you push a person too much, it ends negatively – which is surely displayed in this chapter.

At the end when Woo felt her mother had “forgiven”, I was touched because in a way, her mother indirectly let Woo know that she never really had anything to forgive her for, and she when she gave the piano, it was like she still had hope in her daughter, whom she still really loved and cared for. After her mother died, Woo, in a way, compensated for the years where she didn’t try to become anything at all by deciding to preserve her mother’s belongings, storing them and even taking them home. I thought it was really nice that she still cared about her mother, despite the high expectations she felt growing up.

4. I would describe the relationship between Jing-Mei Woo and Suyuan Woo as conflicted. Growing up, Jing-Mei never wanted to disappoint her mom. But as she began to continuously do so, “and after seeing [her] mother’s disappointed face once again, something inside of [her] began to die. [She] hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations” (144). So, she began force her mother to give up – to rid herself of the disappointment she felt. Suyuan, on the other hand, wanted her daughter so much to become the best she could be, to take hold of the many opportunities that lay in America. Because of their separate beliefs on working hard, becoming a more talented person, and failure, this caused tension between them as Jing-Mei continued to fail without ever even truly trying. Also, the belief Jing-Mei had that her mother just wanted her to become a prodigy made their thoughts even more different; Suyuan just wanted Jing-Mei to be the best she could be, not necessarily a prodigy. The misunderstanding they had on this made their beliefs clash, causing even more internal conflicts against one another.

5. In this chapter, I notice Amy Tan using a lot of similes. Two examples of similes Tan uses are, “then I just played some nonsense that sounded like a cat running up and down on top of garbage cans (147),” and, “it seemed as if everybody were now coming up, like gawkers at the scene of an accident, to see what parts were actually missing” (151). These are similes as they use the word “like” to compare two different things: the nonsense Jing-Mei played to a cat running up and down garbage cans and the people at the talent show to gawkers at the scene of an accident. The similes improve the chapter as they provide readers with an alternative example of visualization or sounds that readers can relate to something they may have seen and heard in real life. They provide imagery, sensory that enriches the content of the text and they continue the story without leaving readers any sense of misunderstanding. The comparisons lead to something basic that readers had understood prior to reading the text, as it is compared with basic things they may have already experienced and familiarized themselves with in their every day lives.

6. What is the theme or life lesson in this chapter and which line or scene reveals this?
I believe that the theme or life lesson in this chapter is that “mothers only want what’s best for you”. Despite what how Jing-Mei Woo feels about her mother’s somewhat “excessive” expectations, her mother wanted her to put her all into working hard and taking advantage of the opportunities that both her mother and father had worked so hard to achieve by coming to America, and working in a country they both barely understood. This is shown as Woo’s mother even says, “Only ask you be your best. For you sake. You think I want you be genius? Hnnh! What for! Who ask you” (146). She expresses things similar to that several times in the book, and says it from her heart as she tries to get Woo to understand her intentions. Woo’s mother does not expect Woo to be a genius; she just wants her to work her hardest to be her best, for her own sake.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger jpoon said...

“The Right Kind of Prodigy”
Two Kinds
1. At first I felt for Jing-Mei Woo. Her mother always forcing her to try this and that to become a prodigy at something. She even had to sit through those tests her mother gave her every night after dinner to see if there was a spark of talent in any area. But then I felt that she soon became ungrateful. If she became bored with the tests so easily, maybe she should have taken her own initiative to find out what her talent was. When her mother wanted her to try to be a pianist, she did not even put effort into learning the songs even after her mother knew there was not enough money for the lessons or to buy a piano for Jing-Mei to practice on. Jing-Mei’s mother worked very hard for the lessons and the money earned to buy a piano. It seems such a waste for Jing-Mei to just carelessly press keys to make “music” when she actually could have become a prodigy in piano. Jing-Mei’s mother obviously saw something in her daughter if she kept forcing her daughter to go to her lessons after Jing-Mei already performed so poorly at the talent show. Mrs. Woo kept the piano so many years after Jing-Mei stopped playing and offered to give it to her on her thirtieth birthday which shows that Mrs. Woo still had faith in her daughter and was not going to give up easily on her. If Jing-Mei was not going to play piano properly, she could have at least done something else properly to make her mother proud. It seemed as if she didn’t try at all.
2. Jing-Mei and her mother’s relationship is demanding. Mrs. Woo is constantly asking Jing-Mei to try harder and harder while Jing-Mei is forced to do things she doesn’t want to do. The relationship is demanding emotionally and in time.
3. Amy Tan uses the writing technique of symbolism in this chapter. The two titles of the pieces from her piano book, “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented,” reflect how she felt as a child and now. As a child, she was always asking her mother to let her be who she was and argued with her mother. Now, she has made amends with her mother and is happy with everything.
4. The main conflict in this chapter concerns Jing-Mei in an internal, human versus self. She battles between her inner prodigy and herself. This is shown on page 144 when she encounters herself in the mirror. Jing-Mei ignored the prodigy side of her and tried to continue to be “herself.” She ends up finding the prodigy in her at the end.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Marjorie said...

1. Piano Fire
2. Two Kinds

3. “Two Kinds” was one of the simpler stories in the Joy Luck Club. There were no complicated pasts or heavy conflicts, although there is still very much a conflict. I liked how light-hearted the plot was; a very relevant story for kids with high expectations. It was almost too predictable. What kind of boggles me is how Jing-Mei would rehearse, and her mother did not even hear her play before she performed in the talent show. Did she even know that the piano instructor was deaf? Obviously, there are some holes in his teaching lessons if he’s deaf.

4. The relationship between Jing-Mei and Waverly is competitive and loathing. Although it is stated that Jing-Mei and Waverly had “the closeness of two sisters”, they mostly hated each other because of it. Being close led them to fight with one another over crayons, dolls, or right now, the title of “child prodigy”. They exchange only biting remarks towards one another and Jing-Mei’s thoughts of Waverly are really horrible, I found it funny, and something I would actually think of doing. “I would have pulled her braids and punched her stomach,” was a very childish, immature thought that reveals the loathing Jing-Mei feels towards Waverly.

5. In “Two Kinds”, Amy Tan cleverly inserts a double entendre in the story. The song she plays, “Pleading Child”, could be understood both ways. Having, physically played the song, but figuratively, you can say Jing-Mei was the pleading child who only wanted to be herself. In the end, Jing-Mei plays the other half of the song, “Perfectly Contented”. Finally coming at peace with the failure of the talent show and being “perfectly contented” with herself at last. This writing technique is what reveals the ending and closure of the story. If she had not played the “Pleading Child”, the story would not have ended and Jing-Mei would be playing her piano like a deaf old man.

6. Something I learned about Chinese culture from “Two Kinds” is the importance of pride and honor. Although Jing-Mei did terribly during the talent show and was pretty much an embarrassment towards her parents, they stayed in their seats throughout the whole show because of their pride and honor. Pride is highly valued, and as Jing-Mei’s mother believes, it sometimes your dream.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger ashleen said...

1. Nobody is perfect
2. The Two Kinds
3. This chapter was one of my favorite chapters and I really enjoyed reading every page! I think this chapter can relate to practically every teenager because they can understand Jing-Mei’s feelings and the pressure that is being poured onto her by her mother. I mean whose parents don’t push their children to study hard and get good grades. All parents want their children to be successful in life. Suyuan wished the same for Jing-Mei and she pushed her daughter to work hard because she wanted Jing-Mei to have a bright future. I was disappointed at Jing-Mei because she didn’t even try to play the piano well, even though she knew how much it meant to her mother. I was also mad at Jing-Mei near the end of the chapter when she spoke to her mother in a very rude tone. She should have not said words that hurt her mother’s feelings. The thing that made me furious was when Jing-Mei said that she couldn’t become something that she wasn’t. Jing-Mei doesn’t live up to her mother’s expectation because she gives up hope before she even tries, which is why she sees failure in herself.

4. The relationship between Jin-Mei and her mother can be described as resentful. Suyuan has high expectations from Jing-Mei and demands her daughter to fulfill them. However, Jing-Mei doesn’t believe that she can reach up to them and decides not to try. When Jing-Mei and her mother argue about the piano lessons, Jing-Mei shouts to her mother and says that she wished she was never her daughter. Then later, Jing-Mei states that she wished she were like the two daughters that her mother lost in China. This comment really hurt Suyuan and she strained that “only one kind of daughter [could] live in [her] house. [An] Obedient daughter! (153)” Because Jing-Mei and Suyuan had different opinions, tension rose between their relationship and stood as a barrier between their love.

5. One of the many writing techniques that Tan uses is symbolism. She uses the piano song titles to symbolize the two halves of Jing-Mei. The “Pleading Child” symbolized Jing-Mei when she was a child. She always wanted her mother to accept her for who she was and didn’t want her mother to change her. The “Perfectly Contented” symbolized the tranquility of Jing-Mei and Suyuan’s relationship at the end of the chapter when they were at peace with one another.

6. The major conflict in this story is external and can be seen through human vs. human, Jing-Mei vs. Suyuan. Suyuan sets high expectations for her daughter because she wants Jing-Mei to be the best, while Jing-Mei wishes to be herself. Suyuan also wants to bring out the talent in her daughter, but Jing-Mei doesn’t know if she can fulfill them. Therefore, Jing-Mei and her mother have a resentful relationship because Jing-Mei fails to attempt her mother’s expectations.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 1:57:00 PM  
Blogger Nila said...

1. "Legato"
2. "Two Kinds"
3. In any form of art, whether it is music, poetry, painting, or writing, the artiste strives to make their piece relatable to as many people as possible. If their pieces impact a large amount of people, that particular artist will have a larger fan base and will thus, reel in higher demands and success. For me, this chapter impacted me just like that. Jing-Mei's dilemmas are that of many young people in society today. Parents will stop at nothing to push their children to get flawless grades in school, to be well-rounded, and to get every ivy-league college to fall head over heels for their kids. Although I don't directly relate to these issues, I know many people who do and I can see that it is not healthy for these people's mentalities. Although Jing-Mei continues to claim that she is no "genius" (152), she maintains high expectations for herself, which I hope to keep for myself too.
4. Jing-Mei had always been an obedient daughter for her mom; she went with whatever haircut her mother wanted her to have, she followed her mother's wishes to becoming the Chinese Shirley Temple, and she also humiliated herself attempting to play the piano for her mother at the talent show. This type of behavior makes their relationship very submissive… or so I thought. Jing-Mei began speaking out for herself and standing up for what she didn't want to become, which led her relationship with her mom to be assertive. I thought this was much better for the two of them and created a win-win situation: Jing-Mei was happy that she was not being forced into something unwanted and her mother began accepting her daughter for who she is, not what she wanted her daughter to be.
5. A writing technique I noticed was Amy Tan's metaphors. After digressing from their argument, Jing-Mei stated that "the lid to the piano was closed, shutting out the dust, my misery, and her dreams" (154). This compares how the piano remains closed and unused, while any hope for Jing-Mei being a prodigy remained closed as well.
6. (b. What is the main conflict in the chapter? Is it internal or external, human vs. self, vs. society, vs. nature, vs. human and how do you know?)
The main conflict in this chapter is between Jing-Mei and her mother, making this human vs. human. All the mom wants to do is see her daughter become the best she could be, believing that persistence is all she needs to become anything she wants. The daughter, however, believes that persistence is NOT the answer, that fate has already determined that she will never be anything fantastic.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 2:16:00 PM  
Blogger CHELSEA<3 said...

1. Two Halves Make a Whole
2. “Two Kinds”
3. This vignette caught my attention right when I started reading. I think Jing-Mei changed throughout the vignette. In the beginning, she actually wanted to become prodigy. But, after disappointing her mother, she began to think she was a failure. That part in the book is when I think Jing-Mei began to be rebellious. She began to think of her mother is going to change her, change who she is, which I believe is a misinterpretation between the two. Jing-Mei thought her mother wanted her to be perfect; but, her mother only wanted what was best for her. However, I think how Jing-Mei felt is understandable because I realize that in today’s society, parents have high expectations for their children, having strong desires for them to be perfect. I could relate to Jing-Mei in this vignette because I know how it feels to be pressured to get good grades in school, like how she is pressured to be talented. I’m not sure if her mother fully realizes how Jing-Mei feels, especially with trying so hard to just see her mother disappointed. She probably felt like she wasn’t good enough and didn’t want to go through it again. Her self esteem must have dropped dramatically. That later led to her to not getting into a good college, no straight As, dropping out of college, not becoming class president, and things like that. I wonder why Jing-Mei’s mother chose Mr. Chong to teach her daughter piano…when he was deaf! That’s weird. After reading what had happened during the recital, I felt embarrassed for Jing-Mei and especially her mother. But, in a way, Jing-Mei put that on herself, wasting time fooling around during lessons, taking advantage of old Mr. Chong. The scene at the piano bench was intense! Jing-Mei finally let out everything she’d been holding back from her mother. I thought bringing up the dead babies was uncalled for. And when Jing-Mei said that to her mother, maybe she finally realized how much pressure her daughter was under and saw that it was breaking her down. Maybe that’s why she no longer tried to make Jing-Mei into something she’s not.
4. The relationship between Waverly and Jing-Mei is rivalrous. The two are competitive and try to be better than one another. Their rivalrous relationship is like their mother’s. The two girls are both pressured into being something great and “better” than other kids. Waverly is a chess master, while Jing-Mei tries to be proud of her piano skills. However, Jing-Mei loses their battle because she never practiced as much as Waverly did when she began to play chess. After Jing-Mei’s shocking performance, Waverly tells her she is not a genius like her, instead of encouraging her to keep trying. It is clear that the two have a lot of tension between them.
5. A technique Amy Tan uses in this vignette is symbolism. She uses this quite strong towards the end. The pieces “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” are two halves of the same song that symbolize Jing-Mei and her mother, Suyuan. All her younger years, Jing-Mei just wanted her mother to love her for who she is and in the end, her mother was just fine and satisfied with who Jing-Mei was after all.
6. I think the theme here is to don’t forget who you are and do what makes YOU happy. In this vignette, Jing-Mei’s mother always chose which path she would go in. She always wanted her to be something who she is not. But, Jing-Mei realized that none of what her mother wanted to do made her happy. Instead, her mother pressured her and ended up breaking her down, leaving her now choice but to fail. Later in life, she gives up and doesn’t have the inspiration to succeed. If she would have done what she wanted to do when she was younger, she might have done something that would have made her mother proud and have a different life than she has now.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 4:00:00 PM  
Blogger yehray said...

Raymond Yeh

1. Too Many Notes
2. Two Kinds
3. I thought that Suyuan was being too hard on her daughter. She expects her to become a prodigy and forces her to practice piano everyday. She even takes it as far as to brag about he daughter’s piano playing talents. This makes June mad and she didn’t practice as well as she was supposed to. Even when June filed at the talent show, Suyuan still insisted her to keep on practicing. Instead June becomes angry and insults her mother. I did not really understand the part at the end where June says the song she played were two halves of the same song. “Pleading Child” might represent her past self and “Perfectly Contented” might represent her present self.
4. In the beginning of the chapter, June and her mother do not get along too well. She hates practicing piano and only pretends to play the right notes during her piano lessons because her instructor is deaf. When she makes a lot of mistakes during the talent show, her mother becomes extremely disappointed. Suyuan tells June to practice again but instead she yells out, “I wish I were dead, like them!” referencing to the babies her mother had left behind in China. Her mother’s face went blank and it was clear she was hurt. When June’s mother offers her the piano thirty years later, it was a sign of forgiveness for the way she had treated her.
5. The word choice Amy Tan uses at the part when June gives her performance does a really good job at telling us how June felt. You can tell that she was very excited when she starts playing even stating that it was “so beautiful” (150). When she hits a wrong note, Tan writes that it “sent a chill down [her] spine” (150), telling us how surprised June must have felt. When she was done with the performance, Tan writes that her “legs were shaking” (150) an obvious trait of nervousness.
6. In the opening allegory, the girl does not listen to her mother and ends up falling off her bicycle. In this chapter, June does not want to listen to her mother and was “determined to stop her foolish pride” (149). She ended up playing the wrong notes at a talent show and embarrassed herself in front of a large audience. She felt even more disappointed when Waverly, the chess champion, told her, “You aren’t a genius like me.”

Sunday, January 04, 2009 5:42:00 PM  
Blogger Beryllium Baiology said...

( Beryl Bai)
1. One in a Billion, I’m one of the 999,999,999
2. Two Kinds

3. It was one of those typical feelings that Chinese families want their children to be perfect. I thought that was a little funny that her mom would try all these outrageous things to see if her daughter could be a prodigy. Even a prodigy needs practice. Hasn’t she heard “A genius is only 1% percent genius and 99% perspiration”? One needs to work long and hard and with a passion to become prodigy. It isn’t like Shirley Temple could sing and dance from the day she was born. She had practice and lessons and she stuck to it. Sometimes it takes a little luck too. I know her mom just wants her daughter to be special and one of a kind but some of these things don’t matter. A prodigy comes in one in a million. We can’t all be prodigies. And anyways you don’t go looking for the prodigy in you, it comes out of you naturally and some people just aren’t prodigy.

4. Her mom sounds like my mom. She says she doesn’t want me to be a genius and just to try my best, but sometimes my best just isn’t good enough. And then she yells at me saying I didn’t try hard enough. I guess it’s typical of a mother. Jing-mei believes her mother and soon she also thinks she is a prodigy because after something for a million times it suddenly sinks into her head and becomes true, it happens to all of us unconsciously, no matter how wrong it was the first time you heard it. Just because Lindo Jong brags about Waverly is a prodigy doesn’t mean Jing-mei can be one too.

5. You could say that Amy Tan used America to symbolize opportunities. To so many people back in China, they think that America is paradise. They think that they can come to America and live richly and happily and money would just fall from the sky. Seriously! Don’t they think? To have a good life anywhere in the world you need to work hard. Everyone has to work hard even us Americans. My parents could have stayed in China and lived an even wealthier life in China, but they came to America and they had to work just like any other person to be in the Middle Class in America.

6. The story focuses on two themes. There is the American dream and the tension between mothers and daughters. Like many immigrants, even nowadays, people think coming to America means heaven and you can be whatever you want to be and not have to go through any hardships. Jing-mei will not have to undergo all that tragedy but it is not enough that she will be successful. With her mother’s guidance she can be a prodigy. But prodigies are born with talent that shows when it cultivated in the right and good way. A prodigy is when, like Waverly, wants to ponder over that chess board and has a growing passion for it, but compared to Jing-mei, we can tell Jing-mei just isn’t a prodigy for the piano. And in addition, Jing-mei has no desire to cooperate with her mother. “I didn’t have to do what my mother said anymore. I wasn’t her slave. This wasn’t China. I had listened to her before and looked what happened. She was the stupid one.”

Sunday, January 04, 2009 6:01:00 PM  
Blogger nguyenvivian said...

1. “Two Halves of the Same Song”

2. “Two Kinds”

3. I thought this chapter was easy to relate to. Like Jing-Mei being pushed by her mother to be good at something, I remember taking many different lessons when I was young. Luckily, my mother didn’t force me to be a prodigy on any of those chosen topics. As I read, I pitied Jing-Mei, having to practice countless tasks such as “trying to stand on [her] head without using [her] hands” and “predicting the daily temperatures in [various cities]” (146). I thought those were just ridiculous things to force your child to do. If I were in Jing-Mei’s shoes during the recital, I think I would’ve been too embarrassed at how bad I sounded and would leave. Even though she performed horribly, what Waverly said was just mean. “You aren’t a genius like me” (151). That made me want to do what Jing-Mei was thinking. Towards the end, when Jing-Mei and her mother have an argument, I was surprised that she said “I wish I were dead! Like them” (153). Even though she was mad at her mother, I didn’t think she should’ve taken it that far.

4. Jing-Mei and Suyuan have a typical mother daughter relationship, where the mother pushes the daughter to excel at a certain talent and the daughter tries her best to please the mother. Suyuan pressures Jing-Mei to do things such as be a “Chinese Shirley Temple” (141) and know “the capitals of all the states and even most of the European countries” (143). Jing-Mei feels the need to do as her mother wants, but doesn’t want to try her hardest. In the end, the pressure gets to her, making her snap, which led to the argument between Jing-Mei and Suyuan.

5. Amy Tan uses a flashback to tell a story of an important thing that happened between Jing-Mei and Suyuan before she passed away. It really helps us to go in depth with the two characters. It let us see how Suyuan acted before her death and how that affected Jing-Mei. When we go back to the present, it shows that Jing-Mei now appreciates the piano a little more, cleaning it “for purely sentimental reasons” (155).

6. I think the main conflict in this chapter is human vs. society. Jing-Mei has to live with people always talking about children prodigies, where the parents brag to each other about their amazing children and their special talents. Because there were kids out there like Shirley Temple and the three-year-old boy who knew all the capitals, Suyuan felt the need to push her own daughter. Jing-Mei had to live in a competitive world, whether she wanted to or not. And she was forced to try her best at everything her mother threw at her.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:06:00 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

1. The Prodigy I Never Was
2. Two Kinds
3. This chapter can be related to almost every Asian child ever born. Even I can relate to this chapter. I felt so bad for Jing-Mei because her mom wanted her to be a prodigy so badly. They tried everything and when they finally found what Jing-Mei was good at, she never practiced, so she never reached her full potential. I was sad to see that such beautiful talent was being put to waste because she didn't want to practice and please her mother. It was so saddening how Jing-Mei rebelled against her mother, even though this was usually the way most children stopped their parents from pushing them so hard. I could relate to when Jing-Mei embarassed herself at the piano recital because I did that once myself, though not as badly as described in the text.

4. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother is similar to one that any parent and daughter would have. Jing-Mei's mother pushes her in hopes that she will someday reach her fullest potential. The only flaw is that she's pushed too hard and chooses to rebel instead of following what her mother wants. Jing-Mei's mother doesn't understand the struggle her daughter goes through, so she doesn't feel any remorse in pushing her too hard.

5. Tan uses flashbacks in this chapter. She flashes back to when her Jing-Mei's mother tries to force talent out of her and what that led to. Most of the story is in flashback and shows the person that Suyuan was. It also shows what happened when she was alive. Without the flashbacks in this chapter, we wouldn't understand what caused Jing-Mei to feel like the way she did after the passing of her mother

6. The main conflict is man vs. man. The conflict is between Jing-Mei and her mother. Her mother expected and wanted so many things from Jing-Mei. She eventually gets frustrated by the standards her mother placed and instead of trying to please her mother, she rebels. The conflict never did get resolved because Jing-Mei carries her hurt feelings for many years, even after the death of her mother.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:11:00 PM  
Blogger Vivian Tran said...

1) A Sour Note
2) Two Kinds
3) I felt so connected to Jing-Mei, more so than to any other character I have ever come across in any book or movie. The constant pressure to do well coming from her mom sounds just like the pressure my mom puts on me! Amy Tan just hit the nail on the head for me. I both love and hate how Jing-mei brushes off her mother’s attempts at making her a prodigy, something she wasn’t and didn’t want to be. I so badly want to cheer her on but at the same time, boo and hiss at her for being disrespectful. I was so scared for her when she told her mother she wasn’t leaving for the normal 4 o’clock piano lessons. Looking back on that, I can see that she regrets it, seeing how easy it is to play the piano. I think that living with her mother’s attitude of “if you can dream it, you can achieve it,” really left Jing-mei with a sense of emptiness. She always has this negative attitude towards herself, almost like she’s addicted to bringing herself down and self loathing. While I do not like the path she chose to take, assuming that she did not make amends with her mother before she died, I can’t imagine what her life would have been like if she never quit piano. She wouldn’t have had the chance to see now how the two piano pieces completed each other, how they reflected herself.
4) The relationship between Jing-mei and her mother can be described as “aggressive”. Jing-mei’s mother is pushy and stubborn but Jing-mei won’t back down either. They’re constantly at odds with each other, bickering and throwing insults. Jing-mei retorts with the wish that she wasn’t Su-yuan’s daughter, to that Su-yuan gets outraged at the blatant disrespect. They love each other, but petty arguments and differences in ideas clash and cause them wage war with each other.
5) The flashback that Amy Tan uses in this chapter is really powerful. Without it, the reader would not see the symbolism in the scene where Jing-mei returns home and plays “Pleading Child” again only to find that there is a companion piece. We would never be able to see how Jing-mei blindly leads herself to her own failure, to her mother’s disappointment, and how she and her mother must have lived out so many years of their life, resenting each other silently. Jing-mei resenting her mother to force her into being a child prodigy, and Su-yuan almost resenting Jing-mei for not trying.
6) I think the theme in this chapter is “life is too short for hatred”. Just years before Su-yuan’s death, the piano that haunted them both for so long was given to Jing-mei on her birthday. Jing mei “saw the offer as a sign of forgiveness,” (154) although she doesn’t take it at first. I can’t imagine the regret and remorse that Jing-mei would have felt if “apologies” weren’t exchanged before her mother’s death. The “tremendous burden” (154) was lifted from her, but I feel as though Su-yuan went in peace too.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:13:00 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

1. Get Out of My Face.
2. Two Sides

3. While I was reading this chapter, I couldn't help but to nod along with every point Jing-Mei made. Just as her mother attempted to push her to be the best at everything, my own mother tries to push me to acheive things I know I wouldn't be able to do. I admit that I act exactly the way Jing-Mei acted. I am lazy and very unmotivated in everything I do because I have been pushed to try and achieve great things. However, I also understand Jing-Mei's mother's idea. She is only looking out for her daughter and wants her to be the best person that she is able to be. I can't relate to this chapter because it so closely resembles my own life.

4. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother can be described as a misunderstanding. Jing-Mei doesn't understand that her mother is only looking out for her, and she believes that her mother is trying to push her to be a prodigy because she wants to show off. Her mother doesn't understand that her pushy, demanding nature isn't really helping Jing-Mei's attitude to the things that she is forced to do.

5. In this chapter, Amy Tan used symbolism. The chapter ending with Jing-mei playing two songs: “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented”. She, then said that the two songs are “two halves of the same song,” (155). It think the "Pleading Child" symbolizes Jing-Mei and her silent pleas to her mother to stop giving her so much pressure to be a prodigy. "Perfectly Contented" symbolizes how Jing-Mei feels when she finally understands her mother's actions and when they made up.

6. I think the theme of this chapter is that parent's always have their best intentions at mind. Jing-Mei's mother tried to push her because she believed that if Jing-Mei was as successful as the famous children, she would thrive in life. She wanted Jing-Mei to learn and experience new things and to live a life that is not filled with burdens.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:35:00 PM  
Blogger Sean Massa XP said...

1. A Genius is Not Made by Force
2. Two Kinds
3. I first started to read about how Suyuan Woo had no regrets about leaving China, and this really shocked me. How could one have no regrets about leaving one’s whole life behind, including all possessions and family? She really did follow the saying “leave the past behind you.” When I first started reading that Suyuan wanted to make Jing-mei the best, I smirked. It is quite stereotypical that most Asian parents want to make their children the best at everything; this is like most Asian parents today. When I read that Suyuan tried to make Jing-mei into a genius, forcing so much expectation on her, I was angry. Not only is this bad for her to grow in self character, but it also takes away her self esteem every time she fails. And this was all out of rivalry with Lindo Jong and Waverly. I found this to be quite childish, for grown women to treat their daughters like trophies to show off. The high expectations that Jing-mei couldn’t reach caused her to give up at everything she tried, because she knew in her heart that she could not be the best, and that she would fail her parents. I absolutely hate it when parents do that! Why can’t all parents just accept their children and give them reassurance that they’ll back them up on whatever they love doing?! These ignorant parents make me extremely frustrated! I felt very sorry for Jing-mei when I she told her mother: “Why don’t you like me the way I am?” (136). This frustrates me further because I know that soooooo many kids in this world are hurting, just because parents expect so much from them. Why can’t parents just show their kids affection, no matter what they become or do?! When I read that Mr. Chong still lived with his mother at old age, I laughed, because it seems quite silly. But when I read that he was hearing-impaired, I felt ashamed and pitiful towards him. When I read all the parts about Jing-mei’s piano lessons, they sure brought back memories, for I too took piano many years ago. Jing-mei didn’t want to become the person her mother wanted her to be, she just wanted to be herself. This was the reason why she didn’t try hard at piano, and why she made so many mistakes, and also why she hated her mother. If Suyuan would have supported Jing-mei’s decisions instead of her own, she might have become a true prodigy. But instead, her mother was too caught up in a stupid rivalry with Lindo. Waveryly became a champion because she truly wanted to play chess, not because her mother forced it upon her. The two mother’s pride feuds obviously hurt their daughters’ friendship. While reading about Jing-mei’s performance, memories were flying back to my head. I remember playing many times in front of people; it made you become quite nervous. So when I read about Jing-mei messing up, I felt very sorry for her, and angry at bratty Waverly for saying that she “[wasn’t] a genius like [her]” (140). Annoyance hit me when I read about Suyuan scolding her daughter for not being an “obedient child” (141). Suyuan was treating her daughter like a slave, forcing young Jing-mei to do something that she didn’t want to do, all for Suyuan’s selfish needs. I even questioned if Suyuan cared about her daughter’s happiness at all. Overall, Suyuan forced too much upon young Jing-mei, causing her to grow up unsuccessfully because of past failures.
4. The relationship between Suyuan and Jing-mei, in this story, can be described as a distant and unconcerning. Throughout the story, Suyuan always tried to make Jing-mei into something she wasn’t, forcing tons of high expectations on her. She did this all out of selfish willingness too, just to compete with Lindo and Waverly. Jing-mei didn’t like her mother because of all this, and so the two were never close, but distant, even into adulthood. Unfortunately, their relationship would be left this way forever, because of Suyuan’s eventual death.
5. One major aspect I saw Amy Tan use in this chapter to improve the story was symbolism. There was only one symbolic thing I noticed, but I felt that it was so important that chose it for this part. I found it in the ending when Jing-mei found out that her old song “Pleading Child” was the first half of a song, with the second half being “Perfectly Contented.” These two titles basically sum up Jing-mei’s life. Suyuan forced Jing-mei to play piano music, and she didn’t want to, thus Jing-mei was a “pleading child.” In the story , Jing-mei returned as an older woman to her home. She seemed “perfectly contented” with life when she found the other part of the piano song, which she enjoyed. This is the main symbolism behind the entire story.
6. a. The main theme of the story is to “always accept and support your children, no matter what they want to do in life.” Throughout the story, Suyuan did the opposite and tried to mold young Jing-mei into something her selfish desires wanted. The whole struggle of the story between Jing-mei and Suyuan is evidence for the theme. A touching quote that helps is when Jing-mei told her mother: “Why don’t you like me the way I am?” (136). This shows Jing-mei’s pain from her mother not accepting her. The theme is shown throughout the story in order to reach readers by helping them make better life decisions.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy Nham said...

1. I can('t) do it!
2. Two Kinds
3. I was pretty amazed at what came out of Jing-Mei’s mouth when she was arguing with her mother. I can understand that she was sick of failing her mom’s expectations, but that was still harsh. I can’t believe that Jing-Mei got away with that comment though. I was also surprised that it took so many years to resolve that issue, but I was happy that they got past it before Jing-mei’s mom died.
4. I would describe Jing-Mei and her mother’s relationship as full of obligations. Jing-Mei’s mother felt that it was necessary for her child to be a genius at something to compete with the daughter of her rival, Lindo. She cleaned houses in order for that dream to come true. Jing-Mei was forced to doing things that didn’t appeal to her because obedience was one of the obligations of a daughter.
5. One writing technique that Amy Tan used was similes. One simile in the chapter compared Jing-Mei’s mother to a dead, brittle leaf. This simile helped the story by making the scene more intense and sad. It also helped with the imagery. I could imagine Jing-Mei’s mom leave the room, stunned, because of the simile.
6. The main conflict of this chapter is human vs. human, specifically Jing-Mei vs. her mother. Her mother made her do things that she weren’t interested in like doing tests and taking piano lessons. Many times, it pushed Jing-Mei over the edge. But her mom did not relent, and Jing-Mei continued to try to become the prodigy that her mom wants her to be.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 8:19:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lai said...

1. Who do you want me to be?

2. Two Kinds

3. Immediately, I could see the resemblance June’s mother has with a stereotypical Asian parent. Her standard for her daughter’s potential was unreasonably high. Forced training to become a prodigy was a stereotype of Asian mother, or parents in general. This was not unexpected of course. Coming from an Asian family, the sudden idea that your child could be a superstar was common. This chapter, however, portrayed the scene of resentment from a forced daughter perfectly. Being forced to play piano, June began to revolt against her mother causing some trouble. This somewhat relates to me at a young age. I started lessons for violin when I was 4, a considerably young age, and ended up with me giving it up. But what was unexpected was that after years June enjoyed playing the piano, as did I a few years after. I picked up the guitar and piano, giving music a second chance.

4. I would describe June’s relationship with her mother as strict. Her mother constantly nags at June to train to become a star. When she discovers that her child could be a pianist, she begins to strictly control June, making her train in the field of music. She keeps June on a tight schedule, scheduling June for hours a day to practice the piano.

5. Amy Tan’s symbolism is brilliant. She weaves these symbols into the chapters seamlessly and beautifully. The symbol I noticed in this chapter is towards the end, when June plays her piano once again, playing the dreaded piece she played at the show. “Pleading Child” and the second piece she notices while she played, “Perfectly Contented” both symbolize her emotions throughout the chapter.

6. The main conflict in this chapter is external, human vs. human. The battle was between June and her mother. Her mother always pushed June to become a star, not giving June much of a choice. June gave up trying which caused her mother to become disappointed in her.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 8:20:00 PM  
Blogger PamelaY said...

1. “Little Miss Perfect”
2. “Two Kinds”
3. Personally, I will hate piano until I’m dead in the pits of hell. When the chapter talked about Jing-Mei Woo being forced to learn piano, I seriously felt sorry for her. Why do Asian parents force their children to learn instruments? They seem pretty useless to me. I admired Jing-Mei Woo when she had the bravery to actually stand up for what she wanted and play the piano really badly at the talent show. Truthfully, I have thought of many such things in the past, but never summoned the courage to carry through any of them. Why does Jing-Mei’s mother, and all the other mothers thus far, have so much pride?
4. At first, the relationship between Jing-Mei Woo and her mother could be described as a fearsome lion trainer and lion. In her younger days, Jing-Mei Woo listened to whatever her mother had to say. “Taking her examples from stories of amazing children,” Jing-Mei Woo would take her mother’s tests in order to find something she could become famous in (143). Later, however, Jing-Mei Woo became a rebellious lion and yelled back to her mother, “Why don’t you like me the way I am? I’m not a genius! I can’t play the piano! And even if I could, I wouldn’t go on TV if you paid me a million dollars!” (146).
5. The writing technique Amy Tan used in this chapter was imagery. She used it to describe the sound of the piano notes as they were being played, and the rhythm in which they were being played. “It had a lighter melody but the same flowing rhythm and turned out to be quite easy,” Jing-Mei Woo described playing “Perfectly Contended” (155).
6. a. The theme of this chapter is that if you try, you can be whatever you want to be. This is shown in a quote in which Jing-Mei Woo’s mother “believed [anyone] could be anything [they] wanted to be in America” (141). The scene in which it is shown is throughout the book.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 8:49:00 PM  
Blogger Krasivaia Natasha said...

1. talent show fiasco
2. two kind
3. I could understand the frustration that Jing-Mei felt. Her mother is pushing her too hard, I mean you cant become a prodigy. On the other hand. Jing-Mei really did not try at all, I mean she played bad on purpose. She brought the whole incident on herself by not practicing. Well, her mom did force her to play the piano knowing that she could have gotten good if she wanted. But, she was just being so stubborn.
4. Jing-mei and her mother have a typical Asian relationship. Her mother expects a whole lot out of her daughter. And that stresses out Jing-Mei cause she feels like she cant live up to the expectation. In retaliation she stops trying and slacks off about practicing.
5. I found that the irony was funny. When Jing-Mei told us how close she and Waverly was I thought it meant they loved each other. But, instead she explains they hated each other because of all the competition! I thought that was funny
6. the main conflict here is external. She fights with here mother about not wanting to follow her mother’s expectation. She screams at her about wishing she was dead. When she says she wished she was dad like the rest of her children,that was a pretty low blow.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 9:56:00 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

1. A Sour Note
2. Two Kinds
3. To me, Jing-Mei Woo’s mother is the most stereotypical character in this book. She is a strict Asian parent who competes with other parents to see who has the better kids. I can relate to Jing-Mei Woo because like my mom, she tries to force things. I felt really bad for her mom when Jing-Mei purposely did not practice her piano just to spite her mother. Her mother gave up so much for those lessons and Jing-Mei just throws them away and takes advantage of her piano instructor. If I were Jing-Mei’s mother I’ve would’ve slapped her when she made the comment of wishing she were unborn like the two daughters her mother lost back in China. I thought it was funny when at the end of Jing-Mei’s performance, when everyone is weakly clapping, but Mr. Chong is shouting, “Bravo! Bravo!”
4. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother can be described as strict. Her mother just wants the best for her daughter, but she needs to know when it’s too much. She pushes her into doing something that she absolutely hates. Jing-Mei feels that she has to get back at her mother for being so strict but it ends up hurting the both of them. Her mother has unrealistic expectations because she thinks that by being in America, you can instantly become a star if you try.
5. Amy Tan used similes to describe the mother’s feelings. She describes her as being a “small brown leaf, thin, brittle, and lifeless” (153). Jing-Mei’s intentions were extremely cruel but once she brought up her mother’s past daughters, it really hit her mother. Even though her mother was angry before, she suddenly just becomes silent after that remark. The comparison to a leaf, being lifeless, makes the reader feel connected with the characters on a higher level. It lets the reader care for the characters.
6. The main conflict in this chapter is human vs. human. The battle between June and her mother seemed to be never ending. June was determined to become the opposite of her mother’s expectations. Her mother pushed her too hard but only because she loved her. In the end though, they both forgave each other.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Vernana Dee said...

The Faux Pianist
Two Kinds

1. Out of all the chapters, I could really relate and identify to this one. It's almost scary how similar Jing-Mei's situation was to mine. Like Jing-Mei, my mom pressured me into piano. Not to stereotype or be racist but I'm pretty sure not the only girl or asain person that has been pushed into music. I can connect with Jing-Mei's feelings of failure. I felt like my mom had already gauged my skills. And just like June, I wanted to fail on purpose just to prove her wrong. I can also relate to June's feelings after the recital. She felt so guilty not for failing but for setting herself up for failure.
2. Their relationship could be described as a jumble of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Like Waverly's relationship with her mom, June and Suyuan are always opposing each other. June feels that Suyuan is placing too many expectations on her. She believed that she wasn't "fated" to become the prodigy her mother wanted her to be. And she also felt that her mother was smothering her with her attempts to make her a piano star. But she misread her mother. Suyuan was being persistent because she wanted to help June play piano. Whether June was a Beethoven reincarnate or not, Suyuan wanted to succeed.
3. Amy Tan used a lot of descriptive language and imagery in this chapter. During the recital, the reader feel, hear, and see how the audience reacted. I thought this technique was great because when you have an embarrassing moment like that you'll never forget. The vivid adjectives that Tan used helped create the mood in the scene. It made the reader share the pain and disappoint June felt as she played and watched as the audience listened to her in dismay.
4. The theme of this chapter is you are what you allow yourself to be. Suyuan was trying to give every opportunity she could to help Jing-Mei succeed in piano. Suyuan also echoed the theme on page 141, where she "believed [anyone] could be anything [they] wanted to be in America." But Jing-Mei was blind and couldn't see why her mother was so persistent. So, she rebelled against her mother's expectations and was set on failing. Ultimately, June achieved her goal of failure. But in the end, she realized that she could have done had she put her mind to it because her mom was right there and in her own way rooting for her.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger carmen c. said...

1. “I’m Not A Genius!”
3. I felt that Jing-mei’s mother was jealous of Lindo and Waverly and her other friends at the Joy Luck Club. Waverly was a talented chess player and Lindo kept on bragging about Waverly’s trophies to Jing-mei’s mother. I thought that her jealousy started the neverending search for Jing-mei’s hidden talent. I thought that Jing-mei’s mother pressured her as a child because she thought about herself and not about what Jing-mei wanted. She never asked Jing-mei what she thought about playing piano and other things. I chuckled at the fact that Jing-mei’s piano teacher, Mr. Chong, was deaf. A piano teacher who is deaf cannot tell whether his or her student makes a mistake. I guess this was the only way Jing-mei could take piano lessons since they couldn’t afford expensive piano lessons.
4. The relationship between Jing-mei and her mother can be described as bored. The fact that her mother persisted on finding something that would make Jing-mei a prodigy shows how desparate and willing she was. The fact that Jing-mei’s mother’s friends had children who were talented made her mother jealous in a way. Jing-mei’s mother wanted to show her daughter off to her friends so she made Jing-mei take piano lessons. Jing-mei, on the other hand, didn’t care and got away from mistakes during her piano lessons.
5. I one writing technique I noticed Amy Tan using was similes. One example is when Jing-mei described Old Lady Chong’s fingers “like a dead person’s” (147) and when she described herself playing the piano “likea cat running up and down on topof garbage cans” (147). Similes improve the story by allowing my brain to imagine how things relate or contrast to other objects.
6. I think that the main conflict in this chapter is human vs. human. Jing-mei and her mother struggle in this chapter. Jing-mei is an ordinary child who doesn show any signs of greatness or perfection. She tries things that her mother thinks would make her a child prodigy but it went too far when her mother pressured her on playing the piano. Her mother, on the other hand, wants the best for her daughter so she persists on trying every little thing she finds on magazines and newspapers. Their conflict changes their relationship when they get into an argument and Jing-mei mentions her mother’s two babies.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Tiffany Vuong
6th period
1. The Daughter that Always was
2. Two Kinds
3. Jing-Mei’s mother is only thinking of the positive side of America. She's thinking about the opportunities, but is missing the part when people immigrate into America there's always a fifty, fifty chance of failure. I mean personally, who doesn’t want their child to be a prodigy? Their child to be living the highlight, making money in one year some can't even make in their whole lifetime; it’s every child and parents’ dream for a child prodigy. But this whole child prodigy definitely brings pressure onto the child going through the process of fame and that’s exactly what Jing-Mei’s mother is putting her through. Now, Jing-Mei lost hope in herself and felt all the negative characteristics of herself as she looked at her reflection in her bedroom mirror.
4. I would describe Jing-Mei and her mother’s relationship as disconnected because Jing-Mei doesn’t understand what her mother wants and her mother doesn’t understand what Jing-Mei wants. Jing-Mei soon believes her mother lost hope in her and doesn’t want to try in anything she does. She wants to be herself; she doesn’t believe she's a genius or a star. Jing-Mei doesn’t want to try when she practices piano, always finding the easy way out because Mr. Chong is deaf and can't hear what she's playing and can't keep up with the notes Jing-Mei is playing so he thinks every time she plays is perfect. And because of this Jing-Mei doesn’t correct herself because she doesn’t want to do what her mom wants.
5. in this chapter Amy Tan uses symbolism. Near the end of the chapter Jing-Mei plays the two parts of the song “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” and I felt that they represented Jing-Mei and her mother’s relationship. In the beginning Jing-Mei was a “pleading child” that only wanted to be normal and do the things that she wanted and that was it. Later on in the chapter, Jing-Mei and her mother were “perfectly contented” because her mother had offered for Jing-Mei forgiveness by offering her the piano.
6. I think the main conflict in this chapter was external; human vs. society because the environment of America created this sense of opportunity to Jing-Mei’s mother. She wanted to take those opportunities and turn Jing-Mei into a child prodigy. Which Jing-Mei wasn’t agreeing on and wanted to do whatever she wanted and not what her mom wanted. And because of the disagreeing it caused a feud between Jing-Mei and her mom.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Raman said...

“Two Halves of the Same Song”
Two Kinds
1. This chapter was very relatable to me. My parents believe that I can do anything if I set my mind to it, just as Suyuan does. Like Jing-Mei, I tried my best to meet their extraordinarily high expectations. When I didn’t the disappointment was crushing. I still haven’t reached the point where I stop trying, but after reading Jing-Mei narrative, I fear I might eventually reach the breaking point where my parents’ expectations are too much for me to bear. I thought it was sad that Jing-Mei gave up on becoming a prodigy, and therefore limited herself from reaching her full potential. It was kind of funny to read all of the different prodigies Suyuan tried to make her daughter into. When Jing-Mei took the easy way out in her piano lessons but playing the wrong notes, but keeping the right time I was reminded of myself. I had often done that as a child to get a task that I did not particularly like over with. As I grew up however, I learned that it is best to do things right as to learn the most from an experience. Mr. Cong was very hilarious. How can a piano teacher be deaf? It was funny when she was the only one sincerely applauding at the talent show since he could not hear the horrible piano playing. Jing-Mei’s embarrassing experience at the talent show reminded me of the time I had to perform in from of an audience. I was playing a piano-like instrument and well as sing along with the song. I was so nervous that my throat closed up and my voice was barely heard. Bombing my performance almost made me give up, so I can see why Jing-Mei wanted to give up playing the piano. If her mother had pushed her a little harder, like mine had, I’m sure she would have gotten back on the horse, and would have been determined to play the song right this time, as not to embarrass herself further. If she had tried again, I’m sure she would have become the prodigy that would make her mother proud.
2. The relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother is one of failed expectations and hope. Suyuan wishes for her daughter to succeed at something, so she pushes Jing-Mei to find what it is. Jing-Mei tries very hard to find her inner prodigy at first, but the weight of all of her failures and the disappointment takes its toll. Jing-Mei looses all faith in her ability to excel at something. When she grows up, Jing-Mei realizes that Suyuan was expressing her faith in Jing-Mei’s ability to be able to do anything she set her mind to. With this insight, she realizes her inner strength and her hope for her prodigy to come out returns. This is seen in the end of the chapter when Jing-Mei plays the piano and realizes that “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” are two halves of the same song.
3. In this chapter, Amy Tan uses symbols. The two piano pieces at the end of the chapter, “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” each symbolize something. “Pleading Child” symbolizes Jing-Mei’s desire for her mother’s acceptance. “Perfectly Contented” symbolizes her understanding of why her mother pushed her so hard and her contentment with that understanding. By realizing that “they were two halves of the same song,” Jing-Mei recognizes her journey from that of a “Pleading Child” to a “Perfectly Contented” woman (155).
4. I think that the theme of “Two Kinds” is that one’s inner prodigy is their will and desire to succeed. This is shown on page 144 where Jing-Mei saw “what seemed to be the prodigy side of” her when she makes a resolution to herself that she will not allow her mother to change who she is. Jing-Mei sees her prodigy side when she becomes willful and firm in her desires. Jing-Mei comments that she probably never succeeded at piano because she never gave herself a chance. If she had tried hard at the piano, her prodigy side probably would have come out.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger dark bad dan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger The Showboater said...

A quarter
TWo Kinds
Out of all the characters, I believe I can associate with Jing-Mei the most, because of the constant pressure my parents place on my shoulder. Reading the chapters concerning her, feels like I’ve been bashed in the head, dizzy, realizing my own problems by reading hers. It was almost something else, when I was someone from the outside looking in. I believe that it was foolish for Jing-Mei to take the actions she did, when she shook the heavy cape of duty from her shoulders, but then I realized: that is something I would do as well. Sometimes, the pressure can be so overwhelming, that all I want to do is run and hide, cowering in fear. However, I believe that if she did try, she could have become a piano genius, seeing as how well she played in the beginning. It’s almost exactly like Waverly having chess coming to her so easy, yet what happens in the next chapters, we see the resemblance. This pressure put on by Jing-mei’s mother is almost exactly like the one I feel from my mother. Sometimes, you’re afraid to win, as stupid as that sounds. Because when you win, you are expected of even more the next time, and some people fear that, so they never push themselves. The relationship can be seen as take, but do not give and Jing-mei’s mother part, from Jing-mei’s point of view. Sometimes she feels that she gives all of her efforts, but gains nothing back. The descriptive language is one of Tan’s stronger writing styles, and we can see that from this chapter, how she can describe and put you in each of the characters shoes. I think that the morale of this chapter is to try to think with a clear head, because if you don’t, you will regret it for the rest of your life.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger dark bad dan said...

Dan Truong
Period 06

Help! I’ve Been Mistaken for a Child Prodigy
(on “Two Kinds”)

3) I thought “Two Kinds” was a chapter that I could relate to a lot. I wanted to take piano lessons when I was 7, but after I began having to practice for one hour a day, I got sick of it. Playing the same songs over and over again is not fun. I wanted to quit. But then my mom pressured me to keep playing because if I started it I might as well finish until Level 10. In this chapter Jing-mei is also pressured into taking piano lessons by her mother, Suyuan. Not only piano lessons, but also in academics. It is as if she believes a child can suddenly become a prodigy overnight. I really enjoyed this chapter.

4) I would describe the relationship between Jing-mei and Suyuan as angry. They resent each other towards the end of the chapter. Suyuan is always expecting Jing-mei to do as she is told and should be good at anything. But Jing-mei begins disobeying her mother because she is sick of being forced to become something she is not. She screams at her mother and enjoys hurting her mother using her mother’s past. Their differences cannot be settled by the end of the chapter.

5) Amy Tan uses similes as a writing technique. She compares "high-pitched noises" to a crazed animal. She compares June's mother adjusting the TV as if she is a “stiff embraceless dance,". She also describes Old Lady Chong's fingers to “an old peach [she] once found in the back of the refrigerator." This writing technique allows the reader to understand exactly how the narrator feels in the chapter.

6d) The allegory for this chapter is about a child who disobeys her mother’s warnings and ends up hurting herself. Suyuan, like the mother in the allegory, tells her daughter to actually be someone by taking piano lessons; however, Jing-mei does not listen to her. She, like the girl who falls off the bike, ends up embarrassing herself at the piano recital because she does not pay attention during the piano lessons and refuses to learn properly.

Monday, January 05, 2009 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger The Showboater said...

i never get it on 12:00:00 like the first time

Monday, January 05, 2009 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Annnnnie. said...

Where My Hopes Lay

“Two Kinds”

1. “Two Kinds” was another vignette in the story I could completely relate to. I understood how Jun felt when her mother compared her to someone who was better than she was. I also understood how it felt to be forced to become perfect. I actually found it quite annoying that June’s mother would expect her to know so many things when Suyuan herself did not know the answers as well. Like June, I was also forced to play the piano so I could immediately relate to how she felt when she missed some notes and the audience stared awkwardly at her. I felt that Suyuan really did try to take things too far and that a genius just simply couldn’t be made in such a short little time. However, I felt pity for both June and her mother when June “failed [her mother] so many times, each time asserting [her] own will, [her] right to fall short of expectations” (142). June had not only failed her mother, but failed herself.

2. I thought Suyuan and June had a very classic relationship. Like most parent-children relationships now, Suyuan had only wanted the best for her daughter. She wanted June to succeed in ways that she didn’t. Like other teenage girls, June refuses to follow her mother’s wishes because she thinks that she cannot do it. June wants to be her own independent person and so, she purposely fails to meet her mother’s expectations. Because Chinese standards were very high in China, June, being and American-born, might not understand why her mother compares her to other children smarter than she is and why her mother forces her to do difficult things that are near impossible. Even now, Chinese families are still like this.

3. Amy Tan utilizes the use of symbols in “Two Kinds”. The titles of the two music pieces, “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented”, represent the two stages of June’s life. The first piece, “Pleading Child” was the slower and shorter piece. It represented the times when she so desperately tried to gain for her mother’s approval, and yet, in the end chose to purposely fail to meet her mother’s expectations. Because she lacked faith in herself, she fell behind, thus, a slower, shorter piece. Now, after her mother has died, June has chosen a more contented life, with a faster pace and a longer lasting happiness. Now, she is “Perfectly Contented”.

4. I feel that the lifelong lesson in “Two Kinds” is that, “All one needs to do is try.” No matter how hard parents pressure you, or who they compare you to, or what they try to make you do, there’s always a way to live up to their expectations. For June, her mother felt that if she was a prodigy, her daughter would lead a successful life. It was June who failed herself by not trying. For the rest of us, Amy Tan wants us to know that we can always live up to our expectations; all we need to do is try.

By the way, better late than never~ :D

Monday, January 05, 2009 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger marshmichello said...

1. Try
2. Two Kinds
3. Jing-Mei grew up with her mother always wanting her to be really good at something. Her mother made her try many things, copying people like Shirley Temple. When she was forced to learn how to play the piano, she didn't really try because her teacher was deaf and old, so he couldn't follow her fingers fast enough to catch her mistakes. She breezed through her lessons not bothering to play the songs correctly. She learned the basics but didn't work at actually playing the songs. When it came time for the talent show, she seemed to not care that she didn't play well. However, when she went on stage and heard how horrible she sounded, she was terrified. She finished and felt ashamed as she approached her mother. She could see the clear disappointment in her parents' faces. I felt bad for her, especially because Waverly was such a prodigy. When Jing-Mei was older, her mother gave her the piano. It was a sign of forgiveness. Later on, after her mother dies, Jing-Mei comes back to play the piano. She played the same song she played at the talent show, but she played it correctly.
4. Jing-Mei's relationship with her mother was strained because her mother kept pushing her to be all these things she didn't want to be. Jing-Mei thought that her mother was trying to change who she was; she thought that she wasn't good enough or that her mother didn't like her. After the talent show incident, Jing-Mei hurt her mother's feelings by saying she wished she were dead like the babies her mother left in China. From then on, Jing-Mei's mother stopped pushing her to try. It wasn't until a short time before her death did Jing-Mei's mother offer her the piano as a sign of forgiveness.
5. The piano was a symbol in this chapter. It was what they had fought over. Jing-Mei's mother wanted her to play but she refused because she didn't want to be changed. In the end, her mother gave her the piano. It meant that her mother forgave her. The piano represented their argument and by giving Jing-Mei the piano, her mother was basically saying she could do what she wanted with it. Her mother wasn't angry with her for not trying anymore.
6. (b) The main conflict in this chapter is between Jing-Mei and her mother. It is an external, man vs. man conflict. Jing-Mei's mother wants her to become really good at something, so she keeps pushing Jing-Mei to try different things. However, Jing-Mei think her mother wants to change who she is so she doesn't try and doesn't succeed at anything.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 3:20:00 AM  
Blogger T-DAN said...

“Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented”: Two Halves of the Same Song
Jing-Mei Woo: Two Kinds

This vignette was appealing to me. I don’t know if it’s only Asian parents or it’s all parents that place pressure on their children to be perfect in every aspect (maybe I’m exaggerating). I can relate to Jing-Mei. My parents want me to be the best in everything. However, sometimes I don’t really want to be the best. I want to be myself. They push me to do things that I sometimes don’t really want to do. I know they have good intentions in wanting me to be something/someone, but I rather do that myself. They want me to develop talents but as they push me towards things, I lose interest. Whatever they wanted me to do, I no longer would enjoy doing. They sort of kill it for me sometimes. For Jing-Mei, I think that her mom was unreasonable to push her to the extent in where she should be able to answer ridiculous questions. However, I think that her mom wants to be proud of Jing-Mei and Jing-Mei’s accomplishment would bring pride. When Jing-Mei disappointed her mother at her piano recital, she felt ashamed. That reminded me of a time when my father and I were fighting. He admitted to me that he wanted the best for me and that even though I disappoint him sometimes, it would be okay. I hope that everyone knows that your parents are not out to get you and “dog” on you for everything. They are not there to blame you and make you miserable (at least I hope so). Parents have good honest good intentions. Children should know that. For parents, however, your children are wonderful! Maybe they are not wonderful in ways you wanted them to be, but they are.

I think that Jing-Mei is an interesting character. She purposely does things to be rebellious. However, I think that Jing-Mei is immature. She should have taken her mother serious just as how her mother was serious about the questions and lessons. She also uses trickery to get by things. I wish she was more empathetic about her mother.

The conflict in this story is external human vs. human between Jing-Mei and Suyuan. Suyuan has high expectations for Jing-Mei. Jing-Mei, disagrees with her mother. This conflict continues for years. However, it is resolved when Suyuan offers Jing-Mei the piano, taking off the burden.

The theme of this vignette is that between mothers and daughters, there are sometimes obstacles and distance. In order to over come that obstacles, mothers and daughters should be empathetic towards each other. However, being from differing generations, it is difficult to be empathetic.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger Soap on a Rope said...

Arun Jandaur
Period 3
Blog#5: Two Kinds
1. Try Harder!

2. “Two Kinds”

3. It was shocking to read this chapter. “Two Kinds” was the stereotypical ‘parent putting pressure on the child’ scenario. As a matter of fact, Jing-mei’s mother bluntly said that “Of course you can be prodigy, too” (Tan 132). When she said that, I felt sorry for Jing-mei because of all the pressure put on her to do something great. Another thing that surprised me was that her mom didn’t even want her to do something in particular but instead constantly looked for something that Jing-mei should do to become famous. That’s the first time I’ve seen that happen. One thing, though, that came to my mind while I was reading this was: When Jing-mei was given the opportunity to learn piano, why would she try hard not to learn just to prove her mother wrong? In what way does that benefit her? She comes from a poor family and is very lucky to have piano lessons and her own piano. She is the most unthankful child I have ever seen. Not only that, she even took advantage of her deaf piano teacher.

4. The most intriguing character in this chapter is Jing-mei. She is a pressured, manipulative, and an ungrateful child. Her mother puts a lot of pressure of her but Jing doesn’t realize that her mother is doing it for her. When she is given piano lessons, Jing doesn’t appreciate them and instead tries hard not to learn just to disobey her mom. Also, she has such a nice piano teacher but she takes advantage of ‘Old Chong’ being deaf. He doesn’t know that Jing is playing the wrong notes; he only knows that she is in rhythm and he thinks she is playing the notes correctly. This shows that she is not thankful and is manipulative.

5. The conflict that Jing is having is with her mother. Therefore, it is human vs. human. Suyuan (Jing’s mother) is trying to turn her daughter into some sort of prodigy. Jing, however, just wants to be herself. She doesn’t want to be a math wiz, a genius, or a piano artisan. She also doesn’t want to turn into someone her mom wants her to be. She is trying throughout the whole chapter to block her mother at every move. In the end, when she is thirty years old, she plays both “halves of the same song” (Tan 144) and it all comes back to her. This doesn’t really solve the conflict completely, though, because she never became a prodigy but her mother gifting the piano to her was a compromise and it is close to enough to say that their conflict can be considered over.

6. The theme of this chapter is ‘what goes around, comes around’. Jing didn’t obey her mother and refused to learn piano when she was a kid but, many years later, it comes back to her and she can play the piano again. Her piano skill was never completed and it finally finished itself several years later. The second half of the song symbolizes that. The first half was played as a child and the second half was completed when her mother forgave Jing. Both halves were part of the same song.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Ben_Tran said...

1. Not Good Enough.
2. “Two Kinds”
3. This chapter features the typical “asian parent” scenario where the parent puts pressure on the child because the parent believes the child isn’t doing his or her best. Jing-Mei’s mother expects Jing-Mei to be a prodigy because someone else did it. I know the position Jing-Mei is in because I’ve experienced it before, so I feel sorry for her. Jing-Mei’s mother didn’t want anything but for her daughter to be famous and successful. Jing-Mei is very lucky to have a piano because she comes from a very poor family. Jing-Mei is very unthankful because she actually tries to prove her mother wrong by not learning how to play. I think Jing-Mei took it too far and she is the way she is because of all the pressure put on her by her mother.
4. Jing-Mei is ungrateful for what she has, and doesn’t care about her success. She only wants to prove her mother wrong, and will go to a far extent to do it. She receives piano lessons, but tries hard not to learn, which I can’t get over because it’s just a horrible thing to do. Jing-Mei takes advantage of her piano teacher being deaf and just plays in rhythm to trick him. He thinks she is doing well, when in reality she is not.
5. The conflict in this chapter is human vs. human and it’s between Jing-Mei and her mother. Jing-Mei’s mother wants her to become a prodigy and pressures her to do so. Jing-Mei gets tired of this and deliberately tries to NOT be successful. She doesn’t want to turn out the way her mother wants her to be and will do anything to ensure it. In the end, Jing-Mei plays both halves of the same song, and although she didn’t become a prodigy, I think the conflict is over.
6. The theme in this chapter is relationships. If Jing-Mei and her mother were close and understood each other, Jing-Mei’s mother wouldn’t have to pressure her so much. If Jing-Mei wasn’t pressured so much, she could have turned out differently and successful. The relationship between a mother and her daughter is very important because it affects the way they treat each other.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 2:53:00 PM  
Blogger Myles said...

1. You Are Only as Spectacular as You Believe You Are
2. “Two Kinds”
3. I really disliked this chapter because Jing – Mei was always being pressured by her mother to do everything spectacularly when she might not have been able to do so. For example, I believe that having to memorize a whole page of the bible in three minutes is impossible to do even if someone believed in them self completely and that is what Suyuan Woo wanted her daughter to do. Both of these women annoy me very much because for one, Jing – Mei acts like a cry baby and does not believe she is capable of doing anything whatsoever. I would understand if she couldn’t memorize a whole page of the bible in three minutes, but what ticks me off is that Jing – Mei says that she can’t do anything her mother believes she can do, she doesn’t try at all and she wants to laze around and watch television all the time. I understand if she wants to watch television sometimes because their needs to be a balance of excitement and work. Suyuan annoys me because she believes her daughter has some magical powers that allow her to do unimaginable actions like to be better than others at some things like the piano. The one thing that I do love is that Suyuan says that she wants her daughter to do her best and believe in herself and that is what I believe every coach, parent and friend should believe.
4. In this chapter, for me, having to focus on one character alone was very difficult because I focused on both the overworked, lazy daughter and the mom who believes her daughter is capable of doing many magnificent impossibilities. The person I chose to talk about is Jing – Mei because of her actions which pester me much greater than the actions of her mother, Suyuan Woo. Jing – Mei is the daughter of a mother who believes that Jing – Mei is skilled enough to do unimaginable tasks. The thing is though, that Jing – Mei might have been able to do some of the tasks like becoming a wonderful musician except that Jing – Mei only wanted to laze around and watch television instead of truly trying her best to either learn to play the piano to the best of her ability or finding something that she loved and she could train to become one of the best at. In short, anyone can try their hardest at doing something, but they have to believe in themselves and tell their self that they can instead of they can’t. Jing – Mei was one of the kinds of people who told herself that she can’t instead of can.
5. The main conflict in this chapter is internal and is human vs. self. The human vs. self idea is Jing – Mei believing that she was not even able to do some of the tasks that her mother had assigned her. She kept telling herself along with her mother that she couldn’t do any of the tasks assigned to her. The conflict inside of Jing – Mei cannot be solved until she says she can.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 6:09:00 PM  
Blogger Myles said...

6. The writing style Amy Tan uses in this story is the writing techniques of flashbacks. In the beginning of this chapter, “Two Kinds”, Jing – Mei tells of her tragedy occurring which was her divorce with her husband Ted. She believed that she couldn’t save her marriage and her mother told her to keep on trying to save it. The flashback in the middle of the chapter is when she was young and her mother, Suyuan Woo would tell her to accomplish many tasks. Some were unimaginable, while others were possible, for example, learning to play the piano. Jing – Mei did not even try to learn to play the piano and instead went for the easy way out which was to trick her deaf piano teacher that she knew how to play. Like her marriage situation, Jing – Mei did try to get past it by not making any decisions and that worked for a while like the piano practicing, but sooner or later failures catch up to a person. Ted did not like at all how Jing – Mei never made any decisions and was angry as well as disappointed like her mother was when the piano presentation by Jing – Mei at the church turned out horrible. Using this flashback, Jing – Mei was supposed to understand that life would not work out in the right ways for her if she did not even try to do anything whatsoever.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 6:10:00 PM  
Blogger Idara said...

Child Prodigy

“Two Kinds”

1. I enjoyed this chapter and I think that a lot of people can relate to it. I understand where Jing- mei is coming from. She feels pressured by her mother, Suyuan, to become something big, someone famous, a child prodigy. I’ve heard from different sources over a long period of time about kids being forced by their parents to do something that they didn’t like. For example I know people who, at a young age, were forced by their parents to play the piano, violin, learn a different language and things of that sort. I also know that although some of them didn’t like doing those at the time, later on down the road, they were grateful that their parents made them do it. I wonder what would have become of Jing- mei if she grew up trying her best.

2. A conflict in the chapter is the relationship between Suyuan and her daughter, Jing- mei. Their relationship is really rocky because of how Suyuan pressured her daughter into being something that she wasn’t. Suyuan didn’t even look for a special talent within Jing- mei that was unique. Suyuan searched for a talent within Jing- mei that she found in other kids already. Suyuan read about special talents that other kids and adults had from books and she expected to found those talents in her child, Jing- mei. It makes sense that Jing- mei was mad at her mother because Suyuan expected so many complicated unnecessary things from her. Jing- mei felt pressured to be someone that she wasn’t. Although I agree that Suyuan pressured jing- mei, I think that Jing- mei went too far rebelling by not even trying. Jing- mei could have tried her best but she gave up on everything, not wanting to put effort in anything. I believe that Jing- mei would have found a special talent in her earlier if she just lived life and did her best in everything.

3. The theme of the story is to not have low expectations of yourself. If only Jing- mei didn’t give up, she would have been able to make something of herself. Jing- mei thought that she could only “be herself.” Of course we can only be ourselves, but we can make ourselves into someone very special. All you need to do is believe in yourself and have the drive to be someone special and to do something extraordinary.

Thursday, December 24, 2009 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Dennisaur (Trinh) said...

You Are Who You Are

“Two Kinds”

I absolutely enjoyed this chapter because I can see a lot of children today who can relate to Jing-Mei. At first, I saw Jing-Mei as a brat who just wanted it her way. Then, I saw her as a complex character who wanted to mess with her mother’s pride. A lot of children today at a young age are forced by their parents to play an instrument whether they like it or not. Her mom is a tad annoying to me. She keeps expecting a lot from Jing-Mei who is still a very young child. You can’t expect your child to be what they’re not. If they’re not born a prodigy, you shouldn’t attempt to turn them into one. Jing-Mei does make me mad sometimes. When she started to give up and stop trying, at that point it really annoyed me. She tries to create conflicts with her mother just so she can have it her way. She played incorrect notes just because she wanted to and she could’ve done much better at the concert if she just tried a little.

I would have to focus on Jing-Mei for this chapter. She plays a piano incorrectly just because she wants to. Jing-Mei has stopped trying to prove a point to her mom that she just wants to be herself. I see a lot of potential in her, but she doesn’t attempt to bring it out because of her mother. I mean you can try to be something your not, but it’s harder to admit you really aren’t that “something”. Jing-Mei admitted she couldn’t play the piano and stopped trying because she would never be able to play like a prodigy. She’s obviously pressured by her mother’s expectations. She’s a rebel, however, in her own way she’s a hero for standing up for herself.

A conflict in this chapter would have to be human vs. human due the conflict Jing-Mei has with her mother, Suyuan. Jing-Mei decides to stop trying because her mother pushes her too far with the expectations. Suyuan got her ideas for Jing-Mei to be what she is through magazines and TV shows. She never gave Jing-Mei a chance to show what she really can do. Jing-Mei realizes that her mother doesn’t understand you can’t make someone something they’re not. She wanted her mother to understand that, so she stopped trying completely. Because she stopped trying completely, at the talent show, even though she was playing a simple song, she failed. I see that if Jing-Mei did give a little effort there may have been a somewhat significant impact in her life. The conflict may also be Human vs. Self because Jing-Mei was unsure at first if she should continue to follow her mother’s expectations and ordeals, but then later decides to just give up completely.

A big symbol for this chapter would have to be the piano songs. The piano songs were “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Content”. She played “Pleading Child” at the talent show and failed miserably which symbolizes that even though she pleaded to be herself, her mom continued to push her further and further. She played “Perfectly Content” after her mother died which symbolizes that her life was now perfectly content, but it wouldn’t have happened without the pleading child. Therefore, they were two halves of one whole. Another possible symbol would be her Robin Hood-like hair which can symbolize rebellion and bravery.

Thursday, December 24, 2009 9:20:00 PM  
Blogger BrandonLamTookMyName said...

1. Prodigy? I sat not!
2. Jing-Mei Woo – Two Kinds
3. At first, I felt like Jing-Mei Woo’s mother was a little too forceful on her, but as the story progressed, I found myself leaning towards the mother’s side. Jing-Mei Woo was obviously being a brat, going against her mother’s wishes and taking advantage of a blind teacher. I believe that her mother traded her time for Jing-Mei Woo’s benefit, not for her to fool around and not take it seriously. As it follows, I didn’t feel too sorry for Jing-Mei when she went on stage and got extremely embarrassed because she couldn’t play the song. Nearing the end, I felt sympathy towards Jing-Mei, as she said “it was not the only disappointment my mother felt in me (142).” I can relate it to even my own life, as no matter what I do, my mom always believes that I could be better or compares me to someone else.
4. Jing-Mei Woo rejecting her mother’s proposal to let her have lessons displays the rebelliousness inherent in Jing-Mei Woo. Jing-Mei goes headstrong against her mother’s wishes, finding ways to rebel against her. She constantly complains about her mother, saying that she is who she is and can’t be a genius. I think this shows how stubborn Jing-Mei Woo is and her lack of determination. I believe that if anyone can succeed at what they’re doing as long as they strive for it, trying their best; however, Jing-Mei Woo obviously doesn’t have those qualities.
5. The main conflict in this chapter is human vs. human, mother vs. daughter. Throughout the whole vignette, recurrent scenes of conflict are seen between Jing-Mei Woo and her mother, causing them to always have fights with each other, whether it be over the piano or a TV show. Her mother, according to Jing-Mei, always wants her to “become a genius”, even though she wasn’t one. However, I believe that her mother only wanted Jing-Mei to try her best.
6. I think one of the themes of this story is to try your best. However cliché that theme may be, it obviously manifests itself in every single one of Jing-Mei’s mother’s lectures, telling her to try her best. Although Jing-Mei Woo always thinks that her mother is coercing her to become a “genius”, I think her mother’s real point was that you can be whatever you put your mind to.

~Scott Lee 3rdPeriod

Thursday, December 24, 2009 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger cupofnoodles said...

Alvin Lee 4th Period
1. The Forgiving Piano
2. Two Kinds
3. I think this chapter shows a very tragic side of what could happen in one’s childhood. “Two Kinds” really expresses parents’ expectations, what they want their children to do or become. I feel bad for Jing-Mei because she was continuously pushed by her Suyuan to become the best she could be and Jing-Mei felt failure and disapproval from Suyuan each time she failed. I don’t think Suyuan should have put so much stress and pressure on Jing-Mei because it led to her being lazy and at a loss for hope to be better. Something I don’t understand is why Suyuan would brag about her daughter to Lindo Jong. I think that Suyuan pushed Jing-Mei to be her best for her own sake not because she wanted her daughter to be someone else. On the other hand, I do believe Suyuan did push Jing-Mei too hard and put on her a great amount of disappointment. Why didn’t Suyuan let Jing-Mei follow her own mind and become something that she would like? I felt terrible when Suyuan gave up hope on her own daughter after her saying she would rather be dead than be her daughter.
4. Jing-Mei followed her mother’s orders and was an obedient daughter, but the disappointment caused her to die a little inside which led her to give up hope on achieving her mother’s expectations. This shows that Jing-Mei was very sensitive to her failures and accomplishments and that what her mother thought of her was very important to her. Because of this, Jing-Mei doesn’t believe in her own ability to do things, and rebels against her mother and her wishes.
5. I think the main conflict in “Two Kinds” is that Jing-Mei does not want to become what Suyuan wants her to be. This conflict is resolved through Suyuan giving Jing-Mei the piano as a way of forgiving her for giving her mother so much disappointment. I believe this conflict is external and human vs. human between Jing-Mei and Suyuan because of the constant fighting and arguments between them.
6a. In “Two Kinds,” I believe that the theme is that you should always try your best and never give up hope. This was a lesson Suyuan tried to teach Jing-Mei by trying to find something Jing-Mei could excel at, so that she would try her best. The constant tests and challenges that Suyuan gave Jing-Mei shows that Suyuan wanted Jing-Mei to excel at something, to try her best at something new. Even though Jing-Mei gives up on becoming better, Suyuan pushes her to keep on trying. In the end, Jing-Mei finds that she can play piano quite well, meaning her mother was right, that Jing-Mei should keep on trying.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 5:09:00 PM  
Blogger MoJoAnna chicken :] said...

1. Chinese Restaurants are yummy :3 Mmmmmm

2. "Two Kinds"

3. This chapter was quite enjoyable and easy to relate to. My parents expect a lot from me, so I can understand how Jing-Mei Woo feels; however, in this case, I think I would have to side with her mother. Suyuan is only doing the best for her daughter, and Jing-Mei isn't even trying. I found the message of this chapter pretty cliché, but important nonetheless. Jing-Mei's mother just wanted Jing-Mei to try her best; she didn't care if she was a genius or not. I think that Jing-Mei deserved to be embarrassed at her recital; I think that that incident really opened her eyes.

4. Jing-Mei Woo is a brat in my opinion. Her mother spends extra hours cleaning some old man's house just so she could have piano lessons, and Jing-Mei responds by not trying and taking advantage of her deaf teacher. She barely practices even though her mother sacrifices so much so she can have a piano and lessons. If only Jing-Mei was not "so determined not to try" (138), then she could've been good, but she never "practiced enough", "never corrected [herself]", and learned to be lazy because she could "get away with... lots of mistakes" (137). This may be harsh, but I think Jing-Mei is a failure, not because she wasn't good, but because she never tried.

5. The main conflict (external) is Jing-Mei Woo vs. her mother, Suyuan (human vs. human). Jing-Mei does not want to do as her mother wishes. She promises herself not to "let [her mother] change [her]". "[Jing-Mei] won't be what [she is] not". (134) Jing-Mei's mother constantly presents Jing-Mei with challenges, and ideas for her to become famous, a genius, a prodigy. As Jing-Mei fails each task presented, she loses more and more confidence, and drifts farther from her mother. There is also some conflict between Suyuan and Lindo Jong, two mothers who are a bit too proud of their daughters. The two compete against each other and brag about how great their daughters are. One always believes her daughter is the best, and they externally boast to each other, raising the expectations of their daughters with each blow or remark.

6. The theme presented in this chapter is that one must always try his best. This common, universal theme is portrayed through the characters Jing-Mei Woo and her mother. Jing-Mei's mother constantly pushes Jing-Mei to try her best. She earnestly works to find something Jing-Mei can excel at. Her mother does not care if Jing-Mei is not that good, as long as she put in all her effort, and tried as hard as she could; however, Jing-Mei never bothers to try and this consequently leads to her many failures.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 8:11:00 PM  
Blogger jen_bug said...

"Life Through A Piano"

Chapter: "Two Kinds"

3)My emotions while reading this chapter were very sad because throughout almost the whole chapter it came across as though the girl was never good enough for her mother. A mother should not force their daughter into being something that they truely don't want to be. It seemed as though Jing-Mei's mother wasn't proud of her being the way she was so she felt that she must change her. Through the chapter I was glad that Jing-Mei didn't want to chnage herself into something she didn't want to be and that she stood her ground against her mother. Eventhough standing up to her mother caused them to have a major argument in the end Jing-Mei got the pride she always wanted from her mom.

4)Jing-Mei is just another victim when it comes to trying to turn into a star and make her parents proud of her. Jing-Mei knows what she wasn't to do with her life and it just so happens that what she wants to do doesn't match up with what her mother is forcing her to do. In any culture it's extremely frowned upon to go against your parents but that was exactly what Jing-Mei had to do if she wanted to stop all the disappointments. "No! I said, and I now felt stronger, as if my true self had finally emerged." (141) This quote is showing the moment that Jing-Mei revealed all of her thoughts to her mother. I think Jing-Mei is a confident little girl who knows when to speak her mind when things get out of control, which is something some adults can't even accomplish.

5)The main conflict that took place was between Jing-Mei and her mother. The conflict ended up being human vs. human and external. The big argument that takes place on the piano bench is what makes this conflict external. Although for most of the chapter the mother and daughter aren't happy with eachother, by the end of the chapter peace is made between the two when the mother asks Jing-Mei if she would like to have her piano. " I saw the offer as a sign of forgiveness, a tremendous burden removed." (143)

6)At the veyr beginning of the chapter the allegory that is mentioned is stating that in America people are able to do whatever they want to do. The whole chapter ends up relating to this by Jing-Mei telling her mother that what she wants to do isn't to become a piano player or a child star. Although it takes many arguments, some crying, and going against peoples wishes, in the end what Jing-Mei had always been searching for she found.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger em, ily! said...

Be Perfectly Contented by Being Yourself
Woods' English 2A: "Two Kinds"


* I love how Jing-Mei's mom is so optimistic with "no regrets" but I absolutely despise how she forces her daughter to become something that she's not, a person that she wished she was but didn't have the chance to be. I know her mom is doing it out of love and wants the best for her but it's only forcing her to become more distant with her mom. Can't her mom see that? Maybe I'm reacting a little bit more on this issue because I have "been there" and "done that". I hate the feeling of being under parents' pressure.
* What's a Peter Pan haircut? I googled it, but I don't think the results are accurate. Did Jing-Mei's haircut make her look forward to her future because Peter Pan was somebody who flew, somebody who was independent or was it because of something else?
* I think all Asian children have been through that point in life where they have wanted their parents to love them; therefore, they change accordingly, but they truly want their parents to just love them for who they are.
* Why was her mother so disappointed in Jing-Mei? She's just a little child trying to please her mother, for goodness sakes! Her mother is driving her to rebellion and insanity!
* Jing-Mei promised herself that she wouldn't let her mom change her, but she did. She turned into a rebellious monster. That, or she's a really disrespectful brat who doesn't appreciate anything that her mother does for her and yells at her mom.
* Otay, I know that Jing-Mei's mom is a little bit forceful at times, but isn't Jing-Mei taking things for granted here? Her mom didn't have the opportunity to experience her childhood in America, and unlike her, her mom has to work hard to earn the money to keep her family alive. Yet, here's Jing-Mei, making her mom give up hope. Why not just talk to her mom about her feelings? Why does she have to act like such a little brat?
* The little girl playing the piano on The Ed Sullivan Show remarkably reminded me of Jing-Mei, n'est-ce pas?
* I don't think it's a very smart idea to have an old, deaf, distracted, past-haunted man to be a piano teacher. Jing-Mei cheated through her lessons a lot. It's true that she never did give herself a fair chance at playing the piano, but it was partly her mom's fault for pressuring her so much that she was forced to go against it.
* What is it with all the Chinese parents and their pride?
* I never realized Waverly was so stuck-up.
* Waverly did try. She tried to be the worst at the piano so that her mother would stop obsessing over her "natural talent".
* Again with the quiet responses of the mother, huh, Amy Tan?
* Waverly should have been disowned for saying such things to her mom. "I never want to be your daughter. I wish you weren't my mother. I wish I'd never been born. I wish I were dead." She hit all the wrong spots. Tsktsk.
* Hey, Amy Tan mentions "why she had hoped for something so large that failure was inevitable". I know the answer! Her nengkan (which was mentioned in Half and Half)!
* I just realized that in this section, The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, all of the mothers lost their hope. I see a pattern!
* Why was the piano a "shiny trophy that [Jing-Mei] had won back"? Was it a trophy of winning her true self back?
* I liked this ending, too. It gave me a "perfectly contented" feeling inside.

4. Auntie Lindo is such a show off. "She bring home too many trophy. All day she play chess. All day I have no time do nothing but dust off her winnings." I wanted her to just shut her mouth. What a typical Chinese braggadocios-mother! Ugh, she's trying to "modestly" hint at her daughter's excellence but she is nowhere near that! Stop trying to make others feel bad, Lindo lady!

Monday, December 28, 2009 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger em, ily! said...

5. This time, I believe the main conflict is man vs. man, Jing-Mei vs. her mom, an external conflict. Jing-Mei constantly struggles to prove to her mom that she just wants to be herself and nothing more; yet, her mom wishes for her to be more than what she can be. Throughout the chapter, they constantly bicker and show disapproval towards each other. I believe the conflict is resolved after the big fight they had and Jing-Mei "went there" and it was a "Oh no, she didn't!" moment. After all, her mother died and took whatever was left of the conflict with her.

6. Seriously, I believe the theme/life lesson here is: BE YOURSELF. There's nothing more to that. If you're forced into a life that wasn't meant for you to live, you definitely won't be truly happy. Oh, and don't live life with regrets! Do everything to the fullest. (Fiona, I'm talking about you! Sort of.) Always take chances and live the way you want to. Don't change because somebody else tells you to. Make your own judgments.

Emily Huynh, Period 4!

Monday, December 28, 2009 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger wilsonvolleyball said...

"Two Halves of The Same Song"
Chapter: Two Kinds

1.This chapter really intrigued me for I felt I could really connect to the Jing-Mei Woo. Her life was seemingly filled with constant high expectations of her from her mother. Jing-Mei's mum planted the idea deep inside her that there was a prodigy inside her, and all she needed to do was draw that hidden potential out. I think what Jing-Mei expressed in the vignette "You want to be someone I'm not!" (Tan 142) was what related to me the most. I think most students today can relate to Jing-Mei's situation, their mothers have great expectations of their children, and often they do not see what the true nature of their children. I felt that Jing-Mei was under a lot of pressure from not just her mum, but also the Asian society that surrounded her. Her mother wanted Jing-Mei to excel in a certain area so that she could show it off to other people, such as when Suyuan Woo wanted Jing-Mei to learn piano suddenly. I could relate that to how my mother made me take up violin with a snap of a finger and by uttering a few words.

2.Jing-Mei Woo. Amy Tan specific and significant details of Jing-Mei Woo and her mother's persistence. I could literally picture myself being in Jing-Mei's position, constantly being pressured by her mother and society. Jing-Mei, under the influence of her mum, became extremely self conscious of her failures, whether big or small. She feels the urge to draw out her inner prodigy so she can be flawless, perfect in every degree so that her parents will adore her. Through her trials and failure, Jing-Mei concludes the fact that she cannot be EXACTLY who her mother strives for her to be. In the end, what she really craves for is for her mother to accept who she is, even if she's not a prodigy.

3.The main conflict in this vignette is human versus society. Jing-Mei Woo is the protagonist in this conflict whereas her mother and society are the antagonist. She finds herself smack dabbed in the center of two walls, the will and wishes of her mother and what society expects of her to become. In the midst of all this she is trying be herself, not what her mother wants her to be, and not what society expects her to be. Her mother's idea of an "ideal daughter" can be traced back to the Asian society that they lived in. Parents showed off their children's prowess and skills as if they were objects to be admired at in a store. Waverly from the previous chapter is an example of this and Jing-Mei is trying to fight against how society has influenced her mother's desire for her to become one of the prodigies.

4.The symbolism in this chapter is the piano. The piano is an object of greatness that has the ability to produce graceful sounds, but also devastating ones. How good the piano will sound is based on the mechanisms inside the large shell casing. The casing can change and alter, but that won't affect the sound of a piano, what really matters is the inner parts. I believe this signifies Jing-Mei's personality in this little vignette. Her outer shell is being constantly altered by her mother, shaping her into something that was becoming a mere reflection of society. However, Jing-Mei still has her true self inside the depths of her shell. She later cries out to her mother, emphasizing that she cannot become someone she's not.Like the piano, the way each one's inner mechanism is made produces different sounds, creating different personalities, and that is what makes you special. Jing-Mei's true self is like the piano her mother gave her much later in the future, when she was freely able to express herself.

Monday, December 28, 2009 1:08:00 AM  
Blogger Pixx3ieDust said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, December 28, 2009 4:48:00 PM  
Blogger WeeeeniFAM said...

Chapter: "Two kinds"

This chapter was a really nice change of atmosphere from the other ones before it. I found this vignette to be really really funny and sarcastically humorous too. Her mother's attempt to desperately find something that she would hopefully be a prodigy in cracked me up, since I know of many parents who put their kids in every single sport/class available just to see which one they would eventually exceed in. Seeing Jing-Mei's rebuttals and counter-arguments towards her mother really made this story funny to read and below all the humor was a really inspirational message too. I'll go into more detail about the message in part 6, but all in all, this chapter really gave me a breath of fresh air from all of the depressing and eerie settings from the prior chapters.

2. The character that I focused on in this Chapter was Jing-Mei, because of how she had to go through all of her mother's trial and errors in order for her to succeed in her mother's eyes. Although she fights back and refuses to play towards the end of the chapter, going along with her mother and doing everything she wished said a lot about Jing-Mei as a person. It showed that she really loves her mother and cares enough for her in order to honor her wishes and carry out her order. No matter how ridiculous they may be. She seemed to have been under a lot of stress from her mother as well, but she honestly seemed really happy and enjoyed playing piano prior to her big accident at the piano recital. I guess this would justify her mom's countless attempts at trying to turn her daughter into a prodigy. Lastly, having the courage to speak out and tell her mom what she really wanted to to with her life was something that I really admired about her, since I myself might not even be able to do that.

3. The conflict in this story was between Man vs Human- Jing-Mei vs. her mother. The major conflict would be her mother's overbearing attitude at trying to make her daughter succeed, since I believe that children may need a boost to succeed, but they should also be able to determine what they are truly happy in. This might have also caused Jing-Mei to feel burnt out from her mother's constant demands and ultimately lose interest in everything. Jing-Mei, though, was able to break through her mom's expectations and possibly resolved the conflict on her own. Another conflict was born in the story, since she decided to defy her mother and quit playing forever, but I believe that this conflict was finally resolved as Jing-Mei finally felt the keys under her hand as she played her piano at the end of the chapter.

4B. A big theme in this story is to know yourself and what you would like to do for YOURSELF. I think that many people make the mistake of putting themselves through unneeded misery just to please someone else. Selflessness is a great characteristic to possess, but trying to change yourself to make yourself something you are not will ultimately lead to you disappointing both yourself and the ones you were trying to please. In the chapter, I believe that Jing-Mei just played piano to meet her mother's expectations, and ultimately disappointed herself and her mother, since she was not passionate enough about playing the piano to keep at it forever. This resulted in her embarrassing herself in front of many other people and most importantly, her bond with her mother was broken due to her lost of the drive to play the piano.

Monday, December 28, 2009 4:58:00 PM  
Blogger Arctic said...

Nancy Le from 3rd period says:

You'll Never Know if You Don't Try
Two Kinds

1. As any Asian kid will attest to, Asian parents tend to place tremendous pressure on their children to become the best, as Suyuan does to Jingmei in this chapter. However, in general, kids only quietly grumble about it, rather than fighting back and rebelling or giving up and expending no effort at all, like Jingmei does. I do feel sorry for Jingmei though, because I've never met a mom so obsessed with making her kid a prodigy. Perhaps Suyuan is trying to give her daughter something to be proud of, but I think inside, she's already proud of Jingmei. Maybe it's an attempt to make Jingmei proud of herself too.

2. Suyuan is a very optimistic lady, for someone who has lost everything in China. Perhaps she is optimistic because of her losses. It shows in her belief that 'you could be anything you wanted in America' (141), and provides motivation for her to push Jingmei to become the best, simply because she believes that Jingmei can become the best in America.

3. The main conflict is man vs. man, Suyuan vs. her daughter, with Suyuan insisting that Jingmei become a prodigy and Jingmei giving up trying to spite her. Unlike most other conflicts in Amy Tan's book thus far, this is resolved by the ending of the vignette, when the piano is passed on to Jingmei as a sign of forgiveness.

4. Tan uses similes to great effect, describing the effects of Jingmei's catastrophic performance as being 'as if everybody were now coming up, like gawkers at the scene of an accident' (151) in order to convey the shellshocked, painful feeling Jingmei has at her failure, like the damage from a car crash. It really amplifies some of the emotions the characters feel in the course of the story, as in the case of Suyuan's sudden silence after Jingmei brings up her dead children in a fight, and her subsequent drifting out of the room 'like a small brown leaf, thin, brittle, lifeless' (153). It depicts her as shocked into silence, and possibly despairing, as she drifts from the room, stunned by Jingmei's harsh words.

Monday, December 28, 2009 5:19:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

1. Someone you’re not
2. Two Kinds

3. When I read the chapter, I felt as if I could relate to it myself, because my parents expect me to become the best at everything I do (which never happens) like how Suyuan expects Jing-Mei Woo to become a piano prodigy. I was somewhat amazed that Jing-Mei Woo had the nerve to perform for people completely unprepared and still believe that she wouldn’t do poorly. To accomplish such feat is nearly impossible for anyone. Suyuan’s comment to Jing-Mei Woo about how she could become a good pianist if she placed more effort is something I can relate to, because I hear it nonstop from my parents as well.

4. In this chapter, Suyuan has high expectations for her child, which reveals the typical mother quality of expecting their children to be great. Suyuan wanted Jing-Mei Woo to become a piano prodigy as would any other mother. Suyuan’s high expectations for Jing-Mei Woo shows that she is an average caring mother.

5. The chapter main consist of internal conflicts. It’s human vs. human because of the extreme fight between Jing-Mei Woo and Suyuan about how Jing-Mei Woo wishes she wasn’t Suyuan’s daughter and wishes she wasn’t born.

6A. The theme of the chapter is, “You can be good at anything as long as you put effort in it.” Despite how Jing-Mei Woo always talks about her unable to fulfill her mother’s expectation, she realizes at the end of the chapter that she does have talent for piano. If only Jing-Mei Woo tried harder, like her mother wished, she probably could’ve been fairly decent at piano. Suyuan kept trying to tell Jing-Mei Woo that, but she was always ignorant until she became older and realized that she could play piano.

James Yu
Period 3

Monday, December 28, 2009 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Pixx3ieDust said...

"Numb" (Jing-mei's living the linkin park song!)
“Two Kinds”

1. I think that Jing-mei’s mom is kind of neurotic. She expects so much out of her daughter - and her expectations are completely unrealistic. Perfection cannot be achieved upon command, and Jing-mei’s mom seems unable to comprehend that. Pressure, much? I felt bad for Jing-mei for having to grow up under such expectations, but some of Jing-mei’s actions kept me from being entirely on her side. Shouting that she wished that she was dead her twin sisters was a low blow. And I think that Jing-mei deserved what happened at the recital because she didn’t practice properly. She expected that she would do well without ever earning it, so she got what she deserved. She tried to embarrass her mother at the recital, but really, she just ended up embarrassing herself. Karma! I think that subconsciously, Jing-mei didn’t do her best because she thought that her mom would just let her quit piano once she failed. All in all, Amy Tan made this chapter completely relatable, which I liked a lot. After all, who hasn’t been pressured, at one point or another, to become something that they’re not?

2. Although I didn’t completely agree with the actions of Jing-mei’s mom, I could understand the motivation behind them. She pressured her daughter to become a prodigy because Waverly, the daughter of her friend, was one. On the surface, it seems as though she only wanted Jing-mei to succeed so that she could brag about her daughter’s achievements, but really, she just wanted what is best for her daughter. I think that she pressures Jing-mei to learn how to play piano and to become a genius because she wants to give her daughter the best possible life – a life that she could not give to the twins in Kweilin

3. The main conflict in this chapter is the external conflict of man vs. man, the clash between Jing-mei and her mother’s nonsensical expectations. From her mother attempting to mold Jing-mei into a child prodigy, a musical genius, or perfect student, this conflict drags out between the two for the duration of the chapter as well as the majority of Jing-mei’s life. However, the conflict finally comes to a close at the end of the chapter, when Jing-mei’s mom offers her the piano as a gift. As Jing-mei said, she “saw the offer as a sign of forgiveness”. The gift manages to solve an internal conflict of Jing-mei’s as well. It finally soothes her conscience and lifts the burden of always disappointing her mother.

4. One symbol in this chapter is the two-part piano piece that Jing-mei plays at the end of the chapter. The first half, “Pleading Child” was the piece that Jing-mei played at her disastrous piano recital and it symbolizes everything that her mother wanted Jing-mei to become. Jing-mei learned the first piece by force, without any passion or love, every bit a pleading child forced to play the piano. On the other hand, the second half, “Perfectly Contented”, symbolizes Jing-mei’s true personality. “Perfectly Contented”, described as having a lighter, happier melody, was a piece that Jing-mei learned completely on her own. It symbolizes her own free will. These two halves of Jing-mei – who her mother wanted her to become, and who Jing-mei really was – came together to form something completely new, something that made sense.
- Michelle Chan =]

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger N`Jess said...

1. “Perfectly Contented”
2. Two Kinds
3. I thought that this vignette was the vignette most Asian children could relate to. I realized that being an Asian parent, Jing-Mei’s mom wanted her child to do well in everything that she did, but I think that she mom was being unrealistic. I mean no one is perfect. However, I do agree that Jing-Mei should have tried her best. She did not have to do it for her mom, but she should have done it for herself. I was glad to know that Jing-Mei would not let her mom change her, but by trying to prove her mom wrong, and by trying to fail at everything she did, she would not discover who she really was. When she cheated on her piano practice, it reminded me of my guitar class last year.
4. I think that Jing-Mei was trying so hard to defy her mom’s expectation that she turned into a rebellious brat. Her mom sacrificed so much for her. Her mom would have to clean up Mr.Chong’s house so that Jing-Mei could learn to play piano, and how did she repay her mother? Well, she took advantage of Mr.Chong and if that was not enough, she embarrassed her family in front of their close friends.
5. I think that the main conflict was man vs. man. Suyuan expected Jing-Mei to be a prodigy while Jing-Mei wanted to prove to her mother that she wanted nothing more than to be herself. The burden and disappointment that Suyuan put on her young child changed her. She became rebellious which was the opposite of her mom’s expectation. Both mother and daughter weren’t happy with each other. Suyuan wanted her child to be successful while Jing-Mei wanted her mom to just accept her for who she was. This conflict was resolve when Suyuan the piano as a sign of forgiveness. Once she received the piano, she was “perfectly contented” and all along, she was just another “pleading child” wanting approval from her mother.
6. I think the life lesson is to be yourself and try your hardest no matter what. Always be who you wanted to be and don’t let people or things stand in the way of achieving it, but no matter what happens, always do your best. Always put your mind into everything you do and believe in yourself.
Jessica Hartono, Period 4

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2:28:00 AM  
Blogger ooglyboogly said...

Jodie Chan
Period 3

2)Two Kinds
3)I feel deeply disappointed in Jing-Mei just like her mother, Suyuan Woo. Jing-Mei could achieve so much more if she actually tried and thought positively. She uses all of her energy and effort defying her mother’s wishes that she does not realize her mother was just pushing Jing-Mei to do her best, just trying to help her daughter succeed in life and wanting her daughter to have a talent that Jing-Mei can be proud of. Jing-Mei could have played the piano well. I wonder if she regrets not trying harder when she was younger. Jing-Mei is so lazy and her goals are all wrong! The only thing she practiced hard on was the curtsy for the piano recital, not the actual song. The other thing she really tried to do was to defy her mother’s wishes instead of using that effort to become a better, more accomplished person.
4)Suyuan Woo is like all mothers, wanting what is best for their daughters and having hope and pride in them. She never gave up hope and sacrificed much for her daughter. Even though their “family couldn’t afford to buy [a piano], let alone reams of sheet music and piano lessons” (Pg.135), Suyuan still wanted her daughter to learn how to play the piano and to have a talent, so Suyuan “traded housecleaning services for weekly lessons and a piano for [Jing-Mei] to practice on every day” (pg.136). Suyuan continued with Jing-Mei’s piano lessons even after Jing-Mei’s failed piano recital because she still wants her daughter to accomplish something in life. Suyuan is a loving mother who wants the best for her daughter.
5)The main conflict in this story is human vs. human, Jing-Mei vs. Suyuan Woo. In the beginning of the story, Jing-Mei persistently gets tested by her mother on various subjects. Her mother keeps trying to make her a prodigy, and at first Jing-Mei was excited about becoming a prodigy too, but “after seeing [her] mother’s disappointed face” time and again, Jing-Mei began to hate the tests, “the raised hopes and failed expectations” (pg.134). Jing-Mei starts to argue with her mother, and refuses to waste effort on trying hard and on pleasing her mother. Jing-Mei refuses to play the piano well, become class president, and finish college. At the end of the story, Jing-Mei reconciled with her mother when her mother offered the piano as a birthday present.
6)B) The piano symbolizes discovery because Jing-Mei discovers she can be lazy and get away with it. She also learns that if she makes an effort in what she does, she can be great. The television symbolizes the Suyuan’s hope of Jing-Mei’s great potential. Everything that is seen on television is looked upon by Suyuan as someone Jing-Mei could be. The Peter Pan haircut symbolizes unexpected change and hope for Jing-Mei’s famed future. In the beginning of the story, Jing-Mei accidently gets a Peter Pan haircut instead of a Shirley Temple haircut. Jing-Mei likes the haircut and looks forward to her future greatness. As the story progresses, Suyuan takes notice of a girl with a Peter Pan haircut on television playing piano and wants her daughter to be like the girl. This changes Jing-Mei’s and Suyuan’s life because three days later, their family has a piano and Jing-Mei is taking lessons.
C)In both the allegory and “Half and Half,” the daughter defies her mother and ends up falling before succeeding. In the allegory, the daughter was told not to ride around the corner on her bike but she did. As a result, she fell before reaching the corner. Jing-Mei was told constantly by her mother that she could be great and succeed in life but Jing-Mei did not listen. She fell short of her mother’s expectations and did not accomplish anything. She did not aim for Stanford and ended up dropping out of college. She could have been an amazing pianist since she learned the basics quickly and was a natural player, but chose not to and did not even become a decent pianist. In the allegory and “Half and Half,” the daughter ended up failing because she did not listen to her mother.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 1:15:00 PM  
Blogger E1ain3 said...

1) Beethoven!
2) Two kinds
3) Surprisingly, this chapter can relate to a lot of Tan's younger readers, including myself. Jing-Mei's American lifestyle clashes with her mother, Suyuan's, Chinese life. Instead of allowing her daughter to be an individual, Suyuan forces Jing-Mei to become a child prodigy. This mother-daughter relationship reminds me a lot of my parents and I. I understand that my parents only want the best for me; however, sometimes, they just have to understand that I'm only human. I try my hardest... and that's the only thing that matters, right? So, even though Jing-Mei may not be the perfect daughter, I think Suyuan should still be proud of her. After all, parents only do and say things out of love!<3
4) I really admired Mr. Chong in this chapter. I mean, how many deaf, music-playing people do you know?! Mr. Chong proves to be a unique individual who doesn't let his disabilities stop him from creating beautiful music. His dedication is very inspiring and gives me hope! Plus, his standing ovation during Jing-Mei’s recital made me giggle, since he had no idea how horrible she played.
5) I believe the main conflict in this chapter is human vs. human, mother vs. daughter. Suyuan wants Jing-Mei to become the best in everything and doesn't seem to let her live her own life. Jing-Mei is pressured into becoming a child prodigy and doesn’t understand why her mother does not accept her for herself. In the end, Jing-Mei's terrible piano recital puts her mother to shame and causes more problems between the two individuals.
6) I think Amy Tan's message in this chapter was mainly based on individuality. In other words, Tan is trying to tell everyone to be themselves. You don't have to change yourself to please others. Some people may love you just the way you are! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kayla L. said...

Prodigy at Failing
“Two Kinds”

3. I really enjoyed reading this chapter because I could relate to it. When I was maybe 8 or 9 my parents also had me try lots of different things to see if I’d connect with one. I tried tap dancing, ballet, hula dancing, gymnastics, karate, etc, but no luck. The most important difference though is that my parents never made me do something I disliked. I think Jing-Mei’s mother is way too hard on her. Why can’t she just ask Jing-Mei what her interests are then have her persue that? Maybe then, she too could become a prodigy. It would probably make them both really happy actually.
I often hear about and even see cases with some of my friends where a parent will have their child be things they never got a chance to be. They want to live through them and it’s extremely unfair for the child because then they may never find who they truly are.
I love Amy Tan’s imagery in the quote “and her fingers felt like a dead person’s, like an old peach I once found in the back of the refrigerator; the skin just slid off the meat when I picked it up”. (137) I can completely imagine Old Lady Chong’s hands and it made me cringe in disgust.
I was totally cracking up when Jing-Mei’s piano instructor was deaf. How would she ever learn anything? Did her mother even know this? It’s pretty cool how he can still play beautiful pieces, just like Beethoven.
The way Amy Tan sort of connected the previous chapters together with the Joy Luck Club made everything come together.

4. Suyuan, Jing-Mei’s (June) mother, could have handled the situation with her wanting her daughter to be a prodigy at something very differently. She could have found something she was interested in the in the first place. Waverly became a prodigy at chess because she really enjoyed playing, but June hated everything her mother had her try. Suyuan probably just wants the best for her daughter and wants her to live a prosperous life. I like her enthusiasm as well. In the very first paragraph the quote “my mother believed you could be anything you wanted in America. You could open a restaurant…..You could become rich. You could become instantly famous,” (132) shows this in Suyuan. She is also jealous of Auntie Lindo whose daughter is the chess prodigy.

5. The conflict for “Two Kinds” is man vs. man or June vs. her mother. Suyuan is pushing June to find something that will make her special and famous, but all she discovers is that she has a knack for failing all her “tests”. June hates this about her mother and she sees that she is a good person on the inside and just wants to be herself and because of this both of them constantly squabble and are both unhappy. It’s resolved when June puts on a horrible performance with the piano at the talent show then later tells her mother off. On her 13th birthday Suyuan gives June the paino which was a “sign of forgiveness, a tremendous burden removed”. (143) That’s when the true conflict is resolved.

6a. The theme of this chapter is to do something you care about and don’t let other people force things on you. Make your own decisions and don’t be pushed around. If you do something you’re passionate about then you will live a very happy life. Furthermore, and I know this is cliché, but the theme is to just be yourself.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 4:19:00 PM  
Blogger aly_n_4 said...

Be the Best
"Two Kinds"
3. I found this chapter actually pretty interesting. I think a lot of children can relate to this. It is typical for Asian parents to put pressure on their children like that. Poor little Jing-mei is very much pressured by her strict mother. Her mother wants her to become famous, a child prodigy. Her mother made Jing-mei do things that she's seen other children become famous for, such as the piano. Jing-mei has never touched a piano and knew her family couldn't afford a piano, or even a music book, yet her mother made her take lessons from a old neighbor. I feel really sorry for Jing-mei because she isn't the one who wants to play the piano, yet she is forced to. However, I think it's funny how Jing-mei does rebellious things on purpose in front of her mother; she just wants to prove her mother wrong.It makes me sad to think that Jing-mei was never good enough for her mother. I think alot of children can relate to this scenario because a majority of asian parents put a ton of pressure on their children to be the best that they can, to try their hardest, to bring pride to them.
4. In this vignette, Suyaun, Jing-mei's mother, is very strict and makes everything seem like it's not good enough. One night, she was watching Tv and saw a little Chinese girl playing the piano, a girl who had so much talent at the piano. Suyaun who seemed fascinated by the beautiful tunes simply said "Play note right, but doesn't sound good! No singing sound" (136). This shows that even though the young girl was talented at playing the piano, it wasn't good enough for Suayaun.
5. The main conflict in this story would have to be man vs. man, Jing-mei vs. her mother. It is external. Jing-mei and her mother don't get along too well. Her mother always pressures her to do things Jing-mei just doesn't want to do. Jing-mei constantly tells her mother that she doesn't want to do those things because she just wants to be herself. Her mother forces her to be something Jing-mei can never be. I think the conflict is solved when her mother offers Jing-mei the piano years after.I think it is a sign for Jing-mei to forgive her mother.
6. Throughout this chapter, Amy Tan uses imagery. Jing-mei's haircut was described as "an uneven mass of crinkly black fuzz" and "soggy clumps" (133). Jing-mei's hair was fixed by making her "hair the length of a boy's, with straight-across bangs that hung at a slant two inches above my eyebrows" (133). With such great description, you can really imagine what Jing-mei's hair looked like. Poor girl!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 8:32:00 PM  
Blogger m.méndez said...

1.) Me? A Prodigy? Naw…

2.) Two Kinds

3.) This vignette has to be my favorite one. I just flipped through the pages. I think that most children can relate to this because parents always expect the best out of their children. The ending tied the story together very nicely too. What a coincidence that the music that she played and the next page are exact contradictions of each other. One being “Pleading Child” and the other is “Perfectly Contented”. Though I have to say that Jing- Mei should have taken her piano lessons seriously because her time spent learning is completely useless if she can’t carry out a tune. I guess that parents and children have very different point of views but the parent’s idea is usually for the best. I found how Mr. Chong taught Jing- Mei the piano to be amazing. He is deaf and his eyes are slow but he, nevertheless, taught Jing- Mei the basics of piano.

4.) Jing- Mei is stubborn throughout the vignette. She is very stubborn about quitting piano lessons with her neighbor. After her humiliating concert she was incredibly stubborn about never playing ever again. When she is watching television and her mother immediately tells her it is time to practice piano, Jing- Mei quickly refuses. Her mother then pulls her and Jing- Mei is screaming while being dragged to the piano. She probably felt that her mom was trying to force her to be someone that she isn’t and she wasn’t going to play along anymore. In addition to being stubborn, Jing- Mei is also very pessimistic. From the beginning of the vignette, she was sort of doubtful about every mold that her mother forced her into. Deep down, she knows that she can’t be a Chinese Shirley Temple, a brainiac, or even a musical prodigy.

5.) The main conflict is external. It is man vs. man when Jing- Mei’s mother forces her to become a prodigy at anything that she can. Jing- Mei struggles with this high expectation but her mother wants her daughter to achieve the “American dream” forcing Jing- Mei to mold into someone that is not truly her. She doesn’t want to be a prodigy “for unlike [her] mother, [she] did not believe [she] could be anything [she] wanted to be. [She] could only be [her],” (142). Sadly, her mother never understood that one crucial fact.

6a.) In my opinion, the theme is that you can’t force destiny upon someone. Jing- Mei's mother tried really hard to force to make her daughter into someone who is respectable and phenomenal. Eventually, she forces Jing- Mei to learn how to play the piano in hopes that she has natural talent and will become an exceptional pianist. Tired of being forced, Jing- Mei promised herself that “[she] won’t be what [she’s] not,” (134). No matter all the effort her mother puts into making Jing- Mei into a genius, it just doesn’t work that way because it doesn't work. At least not on Jing- Mei. Jing- Mei’s mother just can’t thrust destiny upon her daughter.

Michelle Méndez
4th period

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Linhwaslike said...

1. You’re only as good as you want to be.
2. Jing-Mei Woo: Two Kinds
3. While reading this chapter, I grew pretty sad inside because as much as I wanted Jing-Mei Woo to make her mother proud just once, it never happened. She was constantly disappointing her mother, and she failed to reach her mother’s expectations in becoming a child prodigy. Yet at the same time, I wanted to slap Jing’s mother in the face because she never took in what her daughter was trying to tell her. Jing’s emotions were bottled up like a volcano waiting to erupt, which led her into acting out aggressively. I don’t blame her because I, too, have been in a situation where my parents pushed me into doing something I didn’t want to do. Parents tend to want their children to do what they never got the chance to do, which is relevant to this vignette because Jing’s mother never got the chance to play the piano in China. Concluding, my only question for this chapter is “why does Jing explain the piano “as if it was a shiny trophy [she] had won back” (143)?
4. The main character is Jing-Mei Woo, and I want to focus on her because throughout the entire chapter, she adjusts to her mother’s wishes accordingly, in fear of disappointing her. However, towards the end, she can no longer take the constant drills and predicted disappointment that she spits back nasty words to her mother, regarding the daughters she left in China. It didn’t have to be so cut-throat if Jing-Mei Woo had just told her mother how she felt before and didn’t save the anger for a big outburst as the finale. I think throughout this vignette, Jing is trying to find out who she really is, and by the end of it all, she finally finds herself. She promises that she won’t be what she’s not.
5. The main conflict in this story is definitely man vs. man and external. Jing and her mother constantly argue as her mother pushes her into more activities with high hopes that later have crash landings. Her mother bickers her left and right, failing to see how Jing truly feels. This conflict is resolved when Jing finally yells out how she feels at the piano bench, leaving her mother speechless. Another conflict is man vs. self and internal because at times, you can never really tell how Jing feels. Does she want to be a child prodigy or not? I thought she didn’t until Tan describes her as confident, that a child prodigy really existed in her and that she could see Ed Sullivan rushing up to introduce her to everyone on television before she performs in the talent show. Make up your mind, Jing. I think everyone knows what she truly wants to be though, and it’s not a child prodigy but herself.
6. THEME. I think the theme in this vignette is “be yourself and not what others want you to be.” Why? Because Jing is practically forced to change her hair style, forced to take her mother’s tests and forced into taking piano lessons when really, she didn’t want to do any of those things. She was trying to be what her mother wanted her to be, what her mother longed for her to be: a child prodigy. The reader gets the vibe that her mother doesn’t accept her daughter for who she is because she can always “be better” if she “tried.” However, as the chapter reaches it end, the reader can tell that Jing prevails, not in her mother’s tasks, but against her mother. She stands her ground, refuses to do anymore of her mother’s wishes. She realizes that being herself is all she can really be, and she accepts herself for who she is, and that is Jing-Mei Woo.

Linh Vuong
Period 3

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger allison. said...

1. You Do Not Need To Be A Genius To Have Talent
2. Two Kinds
3. Jing-Mei is forced to do things that she does not want to do. When her mother, Suyuan sees Shirley temple on the TV, she forces her to sing and dance and act like her; she even takes her to get her hair cut like her but it ends disastrous. Suyuan wants Jing-Mei to become a child prodigy so she makes her study and learn in order to make her famous. Every night at dinner, where they sit at the table for hours, Suyuan will quiz Jing-Mei and ask her questions from magazines that other genius child prodigies have answered. Eventually, when Jing-Mei stops trying, Suyuan gives up hope until she sees a young Chinese girl playing piano on the TV and she once again forces Jing-Mei into piano lessons as well. At a talent show, Jing-Mei messes up and Suyuan loses complete hope in Jing-Mei, causing them to fight and later resulting in Jing-Mei quitting piano. Then when she grows up, her mother gives her a piano for her birthday and her mother later dies, and she keeps the piano in memory of her mother.
4. Jing-Mei put no effort into anything her mother forced her to do. She found ways to short-cut and not put her whole self into, and it caused her to disappoint her mother. This is like most children and parents: parents causing their children to do things because they never got to do it or because they have been hurt in the past. I can relate to this because my mother forced me into piano lessons as well but I did not give up, and when I quit dragging my feet and actually tried, I found that I was actually quite good at it and I think Jing-Mei could have done the same thing.
5. The conflict in the chapter is man vs. man. Jing-Mei and her mother are on constant arguments throughout the chapter. They have a very mother-daughter relationship. Because Suyuan is forcing her into activities, Jing-Mei resents her mother.
6. I think the theme in this chapter is to express yourself the way you want, regardless of what others think or do. Do not go your whole life doing something you do not enjoy or else you will become bitter, but you still should try your best at everything you do and put complete effort into something.
-Allison Olkie Period 3

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 4:56:00 PM  
Blogger waddupdawg said...

#2:Two Kinds
#3:Jing-Mei's mom expects too much out of her daughter, making Jing-Mei do all those stupid test and making her take piano lessons taught by a deaf, blind old man. Jing-Mei tried at the beginning of her lessons but when she learns that the old man is deaf and blind, she gets lazy and plays all the wrong notes. Consequently, when she plays in front of many people, her music sounded awful because she played the wrong notes.
#4:Jing-Mei's mom, Suyuan, is like every asian parent, always expecting their kid to be the very best(this is not pokemon). She wants to make Jing-Mei be good at something because her friend, Lindo's daughter, Waverly, is a prodigy and a national champion. I think that Jing-Mei is trying to compete with other parents by making her kid be good at something.
#5:The main conflict of this chapter is human vs. human, Jing-Mei vs. her mother. Jing-Mei gets annoyed at her mom for making her do all kinds of test and making her take piano lessons. Jing-Mei rebels against her mother by not getting straight A's, not becoming class president, not getting into Stanford, and dropping out of college. This conflict resolves at the end when Suyuan gives Jing-Mei her old piano as a sign of forgiveness.
#6:The theme is that if you try hard, you can succeed. Jing-Mei fails her piano recital because she was lazy and took advantage of the fact that her teacher was deaf and blind. If she actually tried, she could have been good at playing piano.
By Wai Chan
per 3

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 6:04:00 PM  
Blogger that'swhatmel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger that'swhatmel said...

1. Pleading Child, Perfectly Contented
2. Jing-Mei Woo: Two Kinds
3. This chapter made me feel tense the whole time because Jing-mei and Suyuan are constantly on each other’s cases. When Jing-mei decides to go against all of her mother’s wishes, she just digs a deeper hole for herself. I felt that this chapter was a very relatable one though. A lot of teenagers experience the same kind of pressure that June is exposed to. Most of my friends are always complaining and going on and on about how their parents want them to be better than they already are, become some kind of prodigy, and excel in something whether it’s a sport or playing an instrument. I think it’s unhealthy for parents to put that kind of pressure onto their kids because it makes the child lack self confidence when they do not live up to their parents’ expectations. Also, I thought that it was very sneaky of Jing-mei to “cheat” while taking piano lessons from “Old Chong” because he was deaf. At the end of the chapter, I felt very sorry for both Jing-mei and Suyuan because neither of them decided to try to make up with one another or try to apologize in any way.
4. In this chapter, the antagonist is played by Jing-mei. I think she is very rebellious and ungrateful child. Although Suyuan pressures Jing-mei into taking piano lessons, Jing-mei doesn’t realize that it is for own benefit and doesn’t even give it a chance. Instead of actually practicing and trying to get better, she manipulates her deaf teacher, “Old Chong,” into thinking she is playing all the right notes, when she is really just playing the right rhythms.
5. I think the main conflict in this chapter is external, human vs. human. Suyuan, is constantly pressuring her daughter Jing-mei into becoming something she is not, a piano prodigy. Jing-mei doesn’t understand why her mother can’t accept her for who she already is and decides to disobey her mother which causes them to butt heads. This conflict is resolved after the piano recital when Jing-mei yells at her mother, telling her how she really feels. This leaves Suyuan speechless.
6. In this vignette, Jing-mei is just like the daughter in the allegory who did not listen to her mother’s advice and fell off her bike. Maybe if Jing-mei had listened to her mother and actually practiced and tried to get better instead of faking it and being rebellious and lazy, perhaps her recital would have went more smoothly and her fate would have been better.

Melani Cabanayan, Period 3

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Kelsea Wong said...


2.Two Kinds

3. I enjoy this chapter more than the other ones because this one is about Jing-Mei Woo fighting for her own individuality. Her mother has strong hopes for her daughter becoming famous for several gifts. On the other hand Jing-Mei has other plans for herself she just wants to be herself without help from her mom. When her mother signs her up for private piano tutoring she delays on the lesson, which then leads to the terrible performance at a talent show. One would think after that catastrophe that the lessons would end, but they did not the lessons continued. This suspending to Jing-Mei shouting at her mother that she wished to be dead like all her mother’s previous babies. After that objection that hushed her mother up, this silenced her mother to ever talk about talents ever again.

4. The protagonist Jing-Mei Woo is a Chinese girl growing up to the expectations of her mother. Her mother dreamed that her daughter would become the next Shirley Temple, a pianist, and other talented gifts. Although her mother has a talents check list, Jing-Mei wants to stay the person she is now. Her mother consisted on dressing up Jing-Mei that she was blinded that Jing-Mei is not interested in any of those activities her mother picked. What Jing-Mei likes is picturing her at the end of her performance bowing in front of an audience clapping.

5. The conflict is Jing-Mei wants to be who she is and not change, but her mother says otherwise. Her mother is a bit competitive since her friend, Lindo Jong, has a daughter named Waverly Jong who is a whiz at chess. When it came to searching her talent with her mother she expressed a bored façade. Jing-Mei refuses to give in with her mother she wants be herself. She believes her mother does not know that she wants to be herself.

6. There are several symbols in this vignette. The TV could represent the Jing-Mei and how her mother keeps on trying to change her daughter, but every time she changes something Jing-Mei would always go back where they started. This could relate to the sound on the TV that it switches from talking to mute. The mirror portrayed the turning point when Jing-Mei realizes that she is a strong, potent being. Jing-Mei dreamed that she would be star just like The Ed Sullivan Show on TV. The piano influence Jing-Mei’s life as a child and as an adult. When she was a child it was the instrument that won her way in addition to the memory of the horrible performance. Then her mother bought a piano for her thirteenth birthday giving her another chance in forgiving her mother.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger A.o.D said...

1. Perfectly Contented
2. “Two Kinds”
3. Jing-mei and her mother both lived in their little fantasies. They thought becoming a child prodigy is something that could be done by anyone who just tries. Jing-mei’s mother thought that she could “pick the right kind of prodigy” and make her daughter practice, which I thought was foolish (132). Probably because Jing-mei’s childhood playmate Waverly has a talent in chess, Jing-mei’s mother thinks her own daughter can do the same. She started pushing Jing-mei too much and even when Jing-mei believed that she could do it, after a while, she only received disappointed looks from her mother and so she decided to resist. I don’t think Jing-mei’s mother really wanted to change Jing-mei from who she really was, but just make her learn more. Jing-mei’s mother believed that if Jing-mei tried, then she would succeed. However, Jing-mei herself didn’t see what her mother was really trying to do. She mistook her mother’s good intentions as efforts to change her into someone else. What I didn’t understand was Old Chong’s piano lessons with Jing-mei. Wouldn’t Jing-mei’s mother know that Old Chong is deaf since she asked him for the lessons? Why does she still trust him to teach her daughter music lessons?
4. I think that sometimes, when one gets pushed too hard to do something, he/she would want to resist even if it is not something really difficult or upsetting. In other words, once the limit is reached, the more you push her, the more defiant she would become. Jing-Mei is like this because once she saw how disappointed her mother was in everything she did, she became angry and wanted to stay away from all the chances that she could’ve taken advantage of to excel in. Especially in piano, Jing-mei “never gave [herself] a fair chance... [She could’ve] become a good pianist at that young age” (137). She didn’t understand her mother’s intentions and was stubborn and strong-willed in a bad way.
5. I think the conflict in this chapter is human vs. human. Jing-mei misunderstood her mother’s intentions. She thought her mother wanted to change her into someone else when really, her mother only wanted Jing-mei to excel and stand out. Jing-mei’s mother may have been too harsh and insensitive about her daughter, which led to Jing-mei’s resistance. In Jing-mei’s determination to not let her mother “change” her, she didn’t give herself a chance to learn. At her piano lessons, Jing-mei tried so hard to not learn the piano, that she missed her very possible chance to become a great pianist. By the end of the chapter, this conflict was resolved when Jing-mei’s mother gave Jing-mei the piano as a birthday present. Jing-mei described this as “a sign of forgiveness, a tremendous burden removed,” but I think it is more like a sign of apology for pushing her (143). I think Jing-mei’s mother offered it as a way to let Jing-mei try to learn the piano again but this time, now that it’s her own piano, she wouldn’t feel any pressure. Her mother “knew [it] was certain” that she could play again, which was true when Jing-mei found that she still remembered after many years (143). Jing-mei noticed for the first time the piece called “Perfectly Contented,” which she also tried to play, and found that is it part of “Pleading Child.” I think this symbolizes that Jing-mei understood her mother’s intentions then, and the conflict is resolved.
6b. I think the two piano pieces titled “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented” are symbols in this chapter. As stated before, Jing-mei noticed that the two pieces are “two halves of the same song” (144). That realization symbolized that Jing-mei finally understood why her mother pushed her so hard to discover her inner talent. She understood that her mother really didn’t want to change her into a different person, but merely help her along to display her talent. This caused Jing-mei to change from a “pleading child,” who wanted to keep her identity, to being “perfectly contented,” when she realized that her mother loved her after all.
Alice La, Period 4

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Chen Hong said...

1. Bond between Mother and Daughter
2. Two Kinds
3. I thought this chapter was interesting. It shows the bond between mother and daughter, and their hardships in America. Jing-Mei tries her best at things, and sometimes its not good enough for her mother, and I can relate to that. I failed to achieve my mother’s expectations many times just like Jing-Mei. The fact that Jing-Mei made the mean comment to her mother during their fight, about how she wanted to be unborn just like her mother’s other babies, I thought she went over the line. I thought it was highly disrespectful because even if her mom was making her angry, I think girls should be able to control their anger in a better way than talking back/fighting back verbally. The constant bickering and fights she had with her mother kept me reading though.
4.This chapter was a main focus on Jing-mei. She was the type of person who tried to do what others did, but she mostly failed at everything. The type who didn’t try harder the second time around, but instead just gives up after the first time. Jing-mei changes from the once so calm girl who obeyed her mother’s every word, to the girl to does whatever she wanted and thought was right. Because her mother was talented and wanted her daughter to be just the same, it started to whirl up problems once Jing-mei couldn’t accomplish some tasks.
5.The main conflict in this chapter is Human vs Human. Jing-Mei wants to be the person she is, and do what she wanted, but her mother wanted her to function to her mother’s wishes. When Jing-Mei unfortunately fails at doing some things though, her mother would frown at her, and that would kill her mood inside. Her mother just wanted her to be the best, and because she was not, her mother didn’t even support her for even trying. When Jing-mei was officially fed up with her mother, she starts disobeying her and that caused them to get into a verbal fight. With all her bottled-up anger Jing-Mei screams, “Then I wish I’d never been born! I wish I were dead. Like them!” which forcefully ended the fight, because her mother had nothing to say to her after that. They never brought up the fight about piano lessons again, until the end. I think the conflict was resolved because Jing-Mei’s mother kindly gives her the piano as a gift at the end, and says she can do whatever she wanted with it, implying that her mother now lets her do whatever she wishes.
6. There were many themes in the chapter, but the main theme I think is that, you can’t really be anyone but yourself. Jing-mei’s mother wants her to be skilled and talented, but in Jing-mei’s mind, she is not. Her mom constantly pressures her to be someone she’s not, and in the end, Jing-mei finally find the courage to tell her mother that she doesn’t want to be someone she’s not anymore. Even though they go through a phase of not talking to each other or bringing up the fight again, towards the end of the chapter, I think her mom finally realizes who Jing-Mei really is and who she wants to be and accepts it by giving her the piano as a gift.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 1:59:00 AM  

2) Two Kinds

3) As I read this chapter, I saw it as a reflection to my life in a way. Like Jing-Mei, my mother wanted me to be great, and out of the ordinary. Like me, Jing-Mei was forced to take up piano lessons in order for my mother to have something to brag about. Jing-Mei made the same choice I did by deciding to not try and hoping that she would give up on the preposterous idea of making me famous. I really liked this chapter because I could relate to Jing-Mei very much. I would give it two thumbs up.

4) The main conflict in this chapter is between Jing-Mei and her mother. While her mother wants her to a famous prodigy, she doesn't want to change herself. She tries to make her mother leave her alone by not trying in anything that is thrown at her. In the end, she falls short in everything she does but her mother is willing to forgive her. It is an external conflict, which is human vs human.

5) In this chapter, we learn about Suyuan's daughter Jing-Mei. Ever since she was little, she was pressured to be a prodigy. We learn that she wants none of this and begins to rebel against her mother's plans for her. I saw myself in Jing-Mei as I read this chapter. It was very surprising yet refreshing chapter to read. Tan was able to write this chapter knowing that many could relate to it.

6) I think the piano pieces "Pleading Child" and "Perfectly Contented" represents the relationship between Jing-Mei and her mother. It is on and off but in the end everything was resolved and becomes perfectly content.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger BrynIsBttrThnDonAtGttinDwn said...

1. “Up To Scale”

2. “Two Kinds”

3. I can really relate to Jing-Mei in this chapter. Her mother pressures her to do great in everything. To become a prodigy. As I was reading, I forgot that all the narrators were connected, so when Waverly had her appearance, I was like, “Whoa! She’s in another chapter before this.” Waverly sounds like a very snooty character in this chapter. She does not sound like the character I read about in Rules of the Game.

4. I know that Suyuan wanted Jing-Mei to succeed, but she did not take the time to figure out what Jing-Mei wanted to succeed in. Had she known, Jing-Mei could have really become a prodigy in something she actually enjoed doing.

5. The conflict is human vs human. Suyuan is constantly pushing Jing-Mei in a great variety of things, mainly things she sees on television. Even so, Suyuan does not take the time to listen to Jing-Mei. She does not know whether she is excelling or not. She only assumes that Jing-Mei is good. She even brags about her when she is not sure. This is resolved when Jing-Mei plays horribly at the talent show. Even with Suyuans shock, she forgives Jing-Mei by giving her the secondhand piano she had bought.

6a. I think the theme in this chapter is to do what you want and to not let others decide for you.

Bryan Bui

Thursday, December 31, 2009 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Nico said...

1. Past the Limit

2. "Two Kinds"

3. I liked this chapter because it relates to life today. It shows the pressure that some parents put on their children, and what happens if their expectations are too high. Jing-Mei is forced by her mother to learn piano because her mother wants her to find out her hidden talents. Jing-Mei was already so good at chess, what more did her mother want? I thought that it was funny that Jing-Mei thought she could do good in her recital without even practicing. My favorite scene of the chapter was when she tells her mother that she wishes she was dead like her two sister because its a form of rebellion, and it gets her mother to stop forcing her to learn piano.

4. Jing-Mei is extremely talented at chess and is forced to learn piano as well. When she finds out her piano teacher is deaf, she starts to play the wrong notes at the right pace to get out of practicing. This shows that she is smart as well as lazy. This also represents the results when parents force their children to do things they are against.

5. The main conflict in this chapter is between Jing-Mei and her mother, a human vs human conflict. Her mother constantly pressures her and sets standards for which she must follow. Although Jing-Mei enjoys chess, her mother wants her to be even better. She pressures Jing-Mei to enter tournaments and forces her to take piano because she wants more to brag about. This conflict is eventually resolved when jing-Mei tells her mother she wants to die. Her mother stops trying to convince her to become skilled at playing the piano.

6. I think the theme of this chapter is that parents should give their children some space, instead of always nagging them about things.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 2:48:00 PM  
Blogger EthanJosephLe said...

1. "Expectations"

2. "Two Kinds"

3. This chapter seemed less serious in a way compared to the past few. I know, it's about a daughter who let her mother down and crushed her dreams. Hey, it's better than dying children, right? The whole piano prodigy thing seemed somewhat stupid. I mean, I guess you should have some expectations, but hoping that your child would become the next Shirley Temple is pretty far fetched. The thing that I didn't understand was why JingMei's mom kept on trying even after her daughter failed.

4. JingMei was the main character of this chapter. She seems like a normal teenager whose parents expects too much from her. However, she does have some talent since she could pick up playing the piano pretty quickly. Her only problem was that she didn't tried, and I believe that it was because she was pretty much forced to do it. If she just happened to like playing the piano, she could've been really good at it.

5. The conflict is human vs human as JingMei's mother wants her to be a child prodigy. Her mother forces her to play the piano, and in the end, she lets her mom down.

6. I think that the theme is to know limits and not expect too much. It's good to have expectations and standards, but sometimes, having too much of it is just a set up for disappointment.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 3:52:00 PM  
Blogger phunkmasterJobyJo said...


“Two Kinds”

Oh wow I could totally relate to this chapter. Imagine that, a parent forcing a child to play piano! Jing-Mei's mother was somewhat at fault as she forced her daughter to become something she wasn't. However Jing-Mei herself thought she was special in the beginning too, however she later stopped putting any effort into what she did and ultimately was shamed and dissatisfied. Also that comment from her mother about how she looked like a “Negro Chinese” was quite amusing.

4 Jing-Mei was one of those kinds of people who didn't like exerting much effort in, well, anything. She was totally Americanized, embarrassed for her mother's “Chinglish.” Because her mother wanted her to become a 'prodigy', and Jing-Mei went along with it, they set themselves up for false expectations. A prodigy is someone born, you cannot become one. However, Jing-Mei was shown to be crafty and wily when she tricked her teacher 'Old Chong' into believing she was playing perfectly. In the end, Jing-Mei thinks of all the lost opportunities and things she wanted to ask her mother (Connecting back to first chapter with Jing-Mei)

5 The conflict was man vs man, with Jing-Mei and her mother, Suyuan being the aggravants against each other. Jing-Mei was set upon her mother's expectations while being judged along Waverly who was a chess prodigy. Her mother, while having absurdly high expectations, was disappointed not only because Jing-Mei did not live up to her expectations but also because her daughter did not even try.

6c The allegory at the beginning of 'The Twenty-Six Gates' had to do with a daughter who fell down from her bicycle promptly after her mother told her not to leave, the scene of which took place right after an argument. This allegory displays the friction and conflicts between parent and child, with the child being in the wrong and is snubbed for it for not listening to the parent. In the same way, Jing-Mei does not want to become what her mother wants her to be, simultaneously missing an opportunity to connect with her mother and learning a new skill set. In the end, her 'snub' was an argument which was never resolved until a few weeks before her mother's death.
~El Schelonai, AKA Nicholas Lee, Period the 4th

Thursday, December 31, 2009 4:30:00 PM  
Blogger jessica said...

"Two Kinds"

I found this chapter very relatable to my own life. Growing up, I had taken piano lessons for years, but I hated practicing. Like Jing-Mei, I also endured a huge blunder during a piano recital one time, in which I forgot the piece I was so supposed to play! Needless to say, I left the recital in tears as I heard my mother express her disappointment. Also, my parents are similar to Jing-Mei's because they came to America from a foreign land, looking for opportunities because they didn't want their children having to endure the tough life that they had lived in Vietnam.

"There were so many ways for things to get better," (132) says Jing-Mei's mother, who gave her so many opportunities to become great. I could understand Suyuan's reasons for forcing Jing-Mei to take piano lessons, because as I remember, she left behind her past life in China in hopes for a better life in America. I think that she wants Jing-Mei to become a prodigy because she wants her to live the glamorous life that Suyuan never had back in China. Even so, I don't blame Jing-Mei for rebelling because when you're under so much pressure from your parents, who wouldn't crack under all those failed expectations?

That being said, the main conflict would have to be human vs. human, or Jing-Mei vs. her mother. Her mother had so many expectations from her daughter as she tries to unlock that hidden talent from within her. By challenging her with so many tests, it's no wonder that Jing-Mei's self esteem didn't drop under all those disappointments. I liked her stubborn attitude. In fact, I'd have to say that Jing-Mei was pretty confident in herself; she knew who she was, and she wasn't going to change that for anyone else.

I think that the theme of this chapter would simply be put as, "be yourself." Jing-Mei didn't succumb to her mother's wishes, because she knew in her heart that she would never become a child prodigy. She wasn't a genius, but that didn't stop her from being her true self, which was, as demonstrated by the sheet music, "Perfectly Contented."

Thursday, December 31, 2009 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger Nhat Hoang said...

1. “The Perfectly Contented and Pleading Child of One Whole”
2. “Two Kinds”
3. This chapter doesn’t captivate me as much as the others; it seems like the average parent pressuring a rebellious child into doing things they dislike type of story. The beginning where Jing-Mei says that “America was where all my mother’s hopes lay” reminds me of my parents and how they wanted to come to America for the freedom and opportunities (132). The characters in this chapter irritated me quite a bit. The mother, Suyuan, is always expecting Jing-Mei to be her “best” and forces her to do things she doesn’t like. I would hate it if my parents did the same to me. Jing-Mei, on the other hand, is always complaining and throwing temper tantrums. Is it really necessary? One of the lines that make me smile is when Suyuan says, “If she had as much talent as she has temper, she would be famous now” (136). It’s entertaining how Jing-Mei is so confident about herself because she looked so “lovely,” but ends up playing the piano terribly. Also, the way that the mothers would brag about their daughters to each other is quite interesting. And it was a surprise that the characters from the past chapters are included. The ending is somewhat pleasant, since Suyuan gives Jing-Mei the piano, which causes her to start playing again. However, the chapter seems too typical in my opinion.
4. Jing-Mei seems like the typical ungrateful, rebellious and stubborn child. She believes that she can be an amazing person, but ends up giving hope and stops trying to develop any skills. She sluggishly practices the piano because she “learned how [she] could be lazy and get away with mistakes.... If [she] hit the wrong notes because [she] hadn’t practiced enough, [she] never corrected [herself]” (137). If I was forced to do something, I would just try to get the most out of it as I can instead of cheating my way around it. It really did come around to hurt her in her performance. Just because she didn’t do too well, she stops trying completely. Jing-Mei has no determination or passion for anything. It is a nuisance how she is so stubborn, especially when she says “I’m not going to play anymore… Why should I? I’m not a genius,” which makes her seem really unappreciative for what her mother is trying to do for her. She can become a child of great talents if she really tries.
5. The conflict in this chapter is man vs. man. The mother-daughter relationship between Suyan and Jing-Mei isn’t very smooth. They often argue, mainly because Jing-Mei is unwilling to do anything and Suyuan is too forceful. Suyuan wants her daughter to be a talented girl, but she gives up on everything she tries to do, which can be very disappointing. Eventually, Suyuan stops suggesting anything and leaves Jing-Mei alone. The problems fade away and Suyuan surprises Jing-Mei with the piano. Her mother has so much hope and faith in what Jing-Mei can, but is disappointed by the walls that her low self-esteem creates. It all disappears as Suyuan’s life is taken away.
6. This chapter is a lot like the allegory at the start of the section with similar mother-daughter relationships. The introduction is about a mother trying to advise and protect her daughter who ends up protesting, disobeying and running/riding her bike away. Similarly, this chapter is about Suyuan trying to suggest many things to uncover Jing-Mei’s talent. Jing-Mei goes against everything her mother says and “runs away.” Both mothers try to give the best to their daughters who don’t listen and wants to be on their own.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 5:59:00 PM  
Blogger Maggs said...

1. Momma Said: “You no genius”

2. Two Kinds

3. This chapter was confusing to me. I don’t really understand the symbols. I especially don’t understand what point June is making at the end of the chapter when she talks about the two song pieces being parts of another song. It seems like a symbol for something but I do not have any guesses. Although most of it was confusing to me, the reaction that the parents gave after June finished playing at the show was rude. If you think about it, who would criticize a little girl like that, especially since she was forced to take the lessons, it’s simply ridiculous.

4.In this chapter, June is continuously pushed around by her mom. After a while she simply decides to stop enduring through it and just revolts against it, though later June feels guilty about it. Because she feels guilt afterwards, it shows that June is a person who doesn’t always think before she acts, although she does have a conscience and is not an overall bad person.

5. I think the main conflict in this story is June’s struggle to fill her mother’s expectations. I think it’s a man vs self conflict. Even though the struggle is caused by her mother’s constant disapproval and high expectations, June tells herself that it isn’t possible to be whatever she wants, rather she is what she is no matter how hard she tries. Ultimately June tells herself that her mom can’t push her around anymore so she just does as she pleases even if her mom’s hope is lost. The conflict is ultimately resolved when Suyuan offers June the piano. After receiving the offer she feels that her mom is finally accepting her and the forgotten fight had finally dissolved.

6b. I think the piano could symbolize the relationship between June and Suyuan. When June was rude to her mother and the piano lessons stopped, the piano was closed and untouched and afterwards when Suyuan offers June the piano for her birthday June feels relief and also when June says she hasn’t played for a long time, her mom tells her that she would quick to pick it up. This could possibly mean that the relationship had been closed and untouched for a long time, but they can work it out and pick up where they left off quickly.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 6:35:00 PM  
Blogger Julianroy said...

2. "Two Kinds"

3. I liked reading this chapter as it was interesting to read how Jing-Mei reacted to her mother continuously pressuring her to become a piano prodigy. The part that stood out to me the most was when Jing-Mei got out of learning how to play the piece correctly because the teacher was deaf. The way she sneakily kept rhythym without playing the right notes really reminded me of myself and how I some times do things half hearted as well.

4. At first, Jing-Mei seemed to be an eager girl who was willing to do whatever it takes to become successful at whatever she does. But, after her failing so many times, Jing Mei loses this personality and becomes someone who wanted to do things her way. This trait shows the most when she decides that she can be good at piano if she wanted to so she doesn't correct her mistakes when practicing.

5. The main conflict in this story is man vs man as Jing-Mei has to deal with her mother's high expectations. Failure after Failure, Jing-Mei finally lashes out at her mom and tells her how she feels about the high goals her mother has set for her when they are both on the piano bench.

6a. The theme of this story is that no matter what, you should always try your best. Jing-Mei just thought that she was already a piano prodigy and that her true skill would show up when she finally performs at the recital but ends up failing hard because she never practiced.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 6:59:00 PM  
Blogger Julianroy said...

2. "Two Kinds"

3. I liked reading this chapter as it was interesting to read how Jing-Mei reacted to her mother continuously pressuring her to become a piano prodigy. The part that stood out to me the most was when Jing-Mei got out of learning how to play the piece correctly because the teacher was deaf. The way she sneakily kept rhythym without playing the right notes really reminded me of myself and how I some times do things half hearted as well.

4. At first, Jing-Mei seemed to be an eager girl who was willing to do whatever it takes to become successful at whatever she does. But, after her failing so many times, Jing Mei loses this personality and becomes someone who wanted to do things her way. This trait shows the most when she decides that she can be good at piano if she wanted to so she doesn't correct her mistakes when practicing.

5. The main conflict in this story is man vs man as Jing-Mei has to deal with her mother's high expectations. Failure after Failure, Jing-Mei finally lashes out at her mom and tells her how she feels about the high goals her mother has set for her when they are both on the piano bench.

6a. The theme of this story is that no matter what, you should always try your best. Jing-Mei just thought that she was already a piano prodigy and that her true skill would show up when she finally performs at the recital but ends up failing hard because she never practiced.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 7:00:00 PM  
Blogger berries n cream said...

1. Prodigy
2. Two Kinds
3. This chapter was very interesting because a lot of people can relate to this chapter. Jing-Mei's mom really tried hard to get her a piano teacher and to get her to be good at piano. Jing-Mei's mother said she "only ask [her] to be [her] best"(136). Even though Jing-Mei didn't play very well, her mother didn't expect her to be a prodigy, but to just do her best.
4. Jing-Mei is a character that doesnt like to do what she is told. Because she is forced to play piano, she tricks her teacher, "Old Chong" to believe she is playing very well because he is deaf. Jing-Mei's trick on her teacher caused her to believe she can get away with a lot of things in life.
5. The main conflict in this chapter is a Man vs. Man, Jing-Mei and her mother. Her mother expected her to be a piano prodigy and expected a lot from her. She was even compared to Waverly, her cousin, and a chess prodigy. Jing-Mei's lack of effort toward piano caused her mother to be very upset and disappointed.
6. I think the theme of this chapter is to do your best, not to live up to other people's expectations. It's better to do your best, than to try to live up to someone's expectations when you know you cannot and make that person disappointed.

-Eric Tam, Period 3

Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:56:00 PM  
Blogger Taylor said...

1. Expected Hopes
2. “Two Kinds”
3. I really enjoyed this chapter because it’s easy to relate to. Jing-Mei Woo is just an average girl. I find it sad that her mother expects so much out of her. Her mom wants her to be famous and talented. She makes he try all these ridiculous tasks to see if Jing-Mei can do them. Every time Jing-Mei fails she is disappointed in herself. After failing these ridiculous tasks her mother has given her self esteem is lowered and she doesn’t believe she can do much of anything. Her mother never seems to be happy with anything she does. She is constantly trying to change her daughter to be something she is not. Why can’t she just praise her daughter for trying her best? It’s really unfortunate that Jing-Mei doesn’t even try to play the piano. I felt really bad when she got up in front of all those people and she played horribly. I don’t understand why she was so confident in herself before when she hadn’t even really practiced. Why didn’t she even think of what would happen when she got up there and didn’t know how to play?
4. Jing-Mei was very hopeful along with her mother that she would become some child prodigy. Over time as she failed and failed at more things she began to become worn down. She stopped believing that she could do anything. Jing-Mei was convinced she was average. When she learns the piano she doesn’t even try which shows that she doesn’t believe in herself at all. She doesn’t even give herself the chance to do great because she has lost hope on ever being fantastic at something. It’s sad that she doesn’t even try anymore because she already thinks she will fail. It’s all because of her mother never praising her for just trying her best.
5. The main conflict is man vs. man. Jing-Mei must struggle against her mother with her wild expectations. Jing-Mei keeps on failing her mother’s tasks. Her mother keeps on pushing her to be better. Jing-Mei over time gets sick of her mother expecting her to be something she’s not so she stops trying her mother’s ridiculous tasks. In the end she stops listening to her mother all together.
6. I think the theme of the story is to never give up and to try your best. Jing-Mei got worn out over time and after failing time after time again she cheated herself by lowering her expectations. She stopped trying because she no longer believed in herself. Maybe if she had given the piano a chance in the first place she would of found her talent.

-Taylor Gralak

Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger Christina Nguyen said...

Hidden talent
“Half and Half”

REACTIONS: I thought this chapter is very relatable to many different families because of the drive and high-hopes that every mother has for their child. Suyuan wanted her daughter to be the best, to extrude extraordinary talents that would out-do every other child out there. She pushed her daughter to be a “prodigy” and to have someone to show off to people. Jing-Mei lived part of her life looking for an easy way out but life isn’t easy so in the end she had to live with the consequences. She found an easy way to cheat around her piano teacher by taking advantage of his disability. Without practicing and learning the proper music, her performance was a disaster. In the end, she replayed the piece of music and found it to be very easy and it just proves that if she hasn’t spent her time trying to cheat her way around, she could have realized her musical talent earlier in life, maybe when her mother was still alive.
CHARACTER: Jing-Mei didn’t practice for her recital or even learned the music properly which hurt her performance. She used her piano teacher’s deafness to find an easy way out of playing the piano. She knew what she needed to do for the instructor to believe she was playing the right music. This shows that Jing-Mei is very lazy and doesn’t appreciate what was given to her. She had the chance to play piano but didn’t really care for it. She thought that she could just wing her performance piece, but that came out to be a disaster. She didn’t realize until older how much she could have accomplished if she had put in a bit more effort.
CONFLICT: This chapter had a human vs. Human conflict between Suyuan and her daughter Jing-Mei because they had to different mindset. Suyuan wanted her daughter to be incredible and extraordinary while Jing-Mei didnt really care about any of that. Suyuan tried finding her daughter’s secret inner talent to later brag to others, but Jing-Mei did not care. She tried finding the easy way out of things and never took anything seriously. She disappointed her mother with this.
SYMBOLISM: The two musical pieces that Jing-Mei played in the end after many years of quitting piano symbolizes her family understanding her mother. After all of these years of the two fighting and disagreeing, the pieces finally fit together. She realizes why her mother acted the way she did.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 9:07:00 PM  
Blogger K said...

Kathy Nguyen Per 4

1. "I am who I want to be."

2. "Two Kinds"

3. In this chapter, you could relate to Jing-mei if you had a mother with high expectations for you. I feel sorry for Jing-mei when during her piano debut, she continued to mess up after she played her first note and continued on until the end of the song. Especially when a "little boy whispered loudly to his mother, 'That was awful' (140). I mean, Jing-mei obviously knew how bad she played, but could that little boy have some manners and not whisper that loud? Give Jing-mei a break, she learned piano from a former piano teacher who is now DEAF. Jing-mei's mother should have asked Old Chong to play something to make sure he was still good. I find it amazing how that Jing-mei's mother still wanted Jing-mei to continue her piano lessons. But the one I feel sorry for the most is Jing-mei's mother, because Jing-mei said she wished she was not born. For Suyuan (Jing-mei's mother) to hear those words from her own daughter must have struck her heart deeply. Since Suyuan lost "her mother and father, her family home, her first husband, and two daughters, twin baby girls" in China.

4. Jing-mei, the main character of the chapter, seems to be a normal teenager with a mother holding high expectations for her daughter. Suyuan said, "'You pick up fast,' ... 'You have natural talent. You could been genius if you want to'" (143). Though as Jing-mei's mother knows, Jing-mei is too lazy to try. Jing-mei was too lazy to try proabably because of the pressure her mother put on her, causing her to not want to try. If Jing-mei was encouraged instead of pressured, maybe Jing-mei could have been the genius her mother wanted her to be.

5. The main conflict is human vs. human, Jing-mei and her mother. Suyuan pressuring Jing-mei with high expectations, especially when comparing her to Waverly, a chess prodigy. Jing-mei though, did not want to live up to her mother's, disappointing her, and not wanting to try.

6a. The theme of this story is to try your best, not to be the best. After Suyuan told Jing-mei that she was going to take piano lessons, Jing-mei argued back saying she didn't want to be some genius. Though all Suyuan wanted was for Jing-mei to do her best, not be some genius.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 9:55:00 PM  
Blogger (゚Д゚ ") said...

1.) piano hero

2.) "Two Kinds"

3.) This chapter stands out as an inspiration story to me, from the beginning, Jing-mei tells about how her mother would always tell her that "you could be anything you wanted to be in America", that "you could be a prodigy, too" (132). From then on, it's Jing-mei's journey to achieve greatness, to become successful in some profession. I also enjoyed how it was easy to compare myself to this story, especially the mathematics. When I was little my mom would make me study my multiplication tables, and say it was good for me. Now I realize it really was good for me, and it's helped me understand this chapter better as well as do better in actual math.

4.) Jing-mei's a malicious girl who proves to be able to pull off mischievous deeds, for instance when she realizes that her piano mentor is deaf, she grows curious and pretends that she's playing well, which proves to become a bad habit. No doubt, she now believes that she can get away with just about anything and not suffer any consequences.

5.) The conflict in this chapter, is human vs human. Jing-mei and her mother take part in a brawl because her mother expects her to be a fanatic piano player, while Jing-mei seems to show very little interest in playing the piano. Not only that, but she fakes learning which leads to fueling her mother's fury even more.

6.) The theme here seems to be to just do what you enjoy in life. If Jing-mei didn't trick her mother and pretend to be interested in playing the piano, then it most likely would've ended off easier for her and her mother. But that's not to say that it wasn't her mother's fault either, she pressured and pushed Jing-mei until she had no force but to succumb to it. None of them were right, and that's why two wrongs create an even greater wrong.

- Khanh

Thursday, December 31, 2009 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger 巾幗梟雄茂甩程秤Benjamin秤程甩茂雄梟幗巾 said...

1. Double faced

2. Two Kinds

3. At the beginning of the chapter, the chapter seemed to be about a story of a regular Chinese family due to the strict standards. Then, I realized that the every chapter was connected after it mentioned Lindo Jong. After that, I figured out that all those mothers are part of the Joy Luck Club. Then later it seems to turn out everyone competes with everyone in a different way. To Jing-Mei’s mother, it seems that she wants to brag through her daughter like Waverly’s mother. Later in the book, I wondered why Jing-Mei’s mother was touched that her daughter wished to be dead like her deceased sisters. I wondered why did Jing-Mei’s mother instantly changed and put on a different face.

4. Jing-Mei’s mother seems to not be able to accept things the way they are. She believed that anything could be done. It is a lot harder than that. It shows that Jing-Mei’s mother sees only one road, the road of your dreams. Even when Jing-Mei fails to perform a stunt or action, her mother forces her to do it again and does not accept the fact that her daughter cannot do it. This shows that Jing-Mei’s mother does not give up in what she believes in.

5. A conflict in the chapter is Jing-Mei against her mother. It is a human vs. human because it is between a daughter and her mother. Jing-Mei fails to show the ability to do a task but her mother forces her to and believes that she has the ability to perform a certain task. The conflict seems to be internal because Jing-Mei’s mother ignores the fact that Jing-Mei cannot perform a task. Jing-Mei cannot do a task and she shows it, but her mother sees it but still doesn’t believe it.

6. A theme in the chapter is that things may not turn out as you expected. Jing-Mei fails to perform a task but Jing-Mei’s mother thinks she is able to perform the task. Jing-Mei tells her mother that she wishes to be dead like her deceased siblings and Jing-Mei finds out that her mother changes instead of keeping her word. In the end of the chapter, Jing-Mei finds out that the piece is harder to play than expected, and later finds out that there are two parts.


Thursday, December 31, 2009 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger FREAKOFNATURE said...

1. I Don't Believe You
2. Two Kinds
3. I thought this chapter was very inspiring because when I first started playing piano in kindergarden, I was, you could say, the WORST player ever. I felt like quitting every time I went to my lessons. Maybe I felt that way because I also was pressured like Jing-Mei. I was struck when I read that her mother made her memorize the multiplication table. I was also forced to memorize it(in Chinese though). I really liked this chapter because I can relate to it so much.
4. I think Mr. Chong is a very inspiring character in this chapter. Even though he was deaf, he was still have very talented pianist. Being a deaf piano teacher is very unbelieveable. He didn't lose to his disabilities but instead overcame them. That really brought me to awe and inspired me to continue on!
5. I believe the conflict here is human vs. human between Jing-Mei and her mother. Her mother always tried to bring out a talented Jing-Mei but she always persisted...until her mother put her in piano lessons. Her mother's dream of having a pianist daughter died when Jing-Mei performed horribly at the recital and said she wished she was dead like her other two sisters. This causes a hole between the two.
6. I think the theme of this chapter is to try your best at everything. Suyuan, Jing-Mei's mother, always lectures her about improving and being a talented person. If you look at it from a different perspective than being forced to be a somebody, it basically means try your best and you can be whoever you want!
~~becca!(period 3)

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger brandon said...

jackie che n period 3

1) Child prodigy
2) Two Kinds
3) I think this chapter could relate to a lot of children these days. Parents are forcing their kids to do things they don’t want to do. They always think they know what is best but they don’t even know their child’s interests. I disliked how Jing-mei’s mother is forcing her daughter to be something she doesn’t want to be.
4) The main character Jing-mei seems to be an average child who just wants to please her parents. She reluctantly takes piano lessons and does what her mother tells her, even though she hates doing it and wants to do something else. It shows how Jing-mei is always trying to please her mother and accept her. She really wants her mother to accept her for who she is rather than always trying to change her and make her into something she is not.
5) The main conflict is mostly man vs. man, with Jing-mei arguing with her mother all the time. Jing-mei’s mother is always pressuring jing-mei and trying to make her something she is not. This causes the relationship between the two to not be smooth. In the end, Jing-mei gives up on the piano and trying to please her mother which left the conflict unresolved when her mother died.
6) I think the theme of the story is to be yourself rather than what others want you to be. Even though quitting piano meant disappointing her mom, jingmei did what she thought was best for herself rather than trying to be something she Is not.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Tara Lynn. said...

1) The Piano of Life

2) “Two Kinds”

3) First of all, I think Suyuan Woo, Jing-Mei’s mother, had waaay too high expectations for her daughter. I felt so bad for poor Jing-Mei, being forced to take all these random tests from her mother, who was on some sort of quest to find her daughter’s talent. Every day, Jing-Mei had to go to bed with crushed feelings of disappointment, feeling like she’s not good at anything. And I thought it was stupid how her mother kept trying to “train” Jing-Mei to be a prodigy at something. You can’t TRAIN someone to be a prodigy; that’s not what it means. To be a prodigy is to be naturally gifted at something. And Suyuan also seemed to believe that if you’re in America, you will become famous overnight. Um, I hate to burst her bubble, but that’s not how it works. Most of the time, you have to fight to the finish to try and become famous, because there are millions of other people going for the same thing. And I felt so bad for Jing-Mei to be humiliated on the stage when she was playing piano. I can’t even imagine how much that would suck.

4) Lindo Jong really bugged me in this chapter. She was being WAY too boastful about her daughter, saying she “bring home too many trophy,” and has “no time do nothing but dust off her winnings,” (138). She was having this weird little “bragging session” with Suyuan about her daughter, where she was making it sound like it was a bad thing that her daughter was so good at chess. It was like she was trying to be modest about it or something, but I could see right through it. It was definitely some straight-up bragging, that’s for sure.

5) I believe the conflict was man vs. man, between Jing-Mei and her mother Suyuan. They didn’t see eye-to-eye in a sense that Suyuan wanted her daughter to be a prodigy, but Jing-Mei had no interest in doing so because she had failed one too many times. This led to Jing-Mei bringing up Suyuan’s still-born children back in China while they were arguing, which caused Suyuan to be speechless and completely disgusted in her daughter. The conflict actually was resolved, though. It was when Jing-Mei was thirty and Suyuan offered her the old piano from when she was a child. This was like a peace offering.

6) There was definitely symbolism in this chapter. The strongest was at the end, when Jing-Mei sat down and played the piano. She started playing the song she performed at the humiliating performance twenty years before, “Pleading Child,” a short but slow song. She then realized, for the first time, that there was a song on the right-hand side called “Perfectly Contented,” a long but fast-paced song. Right as the chapter ended, she found out that they were actually two-halves of the same song. The “Pleading Child” song symbolized her childhood, when she was silently pleading for her mother to forgive her. This time of her life seemed to last an eternity even though it was only twenty years, hence the fact that the “Pleading Child” song was slow-paced but short. The “Perfectly Contented” song symbolized when Suyuan gave Ying-Mei the piano as a peace offering. Ying-Mei will be living happily and at peace for the rest of her life, which is a long time. This goes along with “Perfectly Content” because it’s a long song, but it goes by fast. This one little song symbolizes the state of Jing-Mei’s entire life.

30 MINUTES TILL 2010! (=

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Candy God Cody Dang said...

2. Two Kinds
3. I thought this chapter was very inspiring, and reading it was a pleasant transition from Melancholic to enjoyable. I especially take a liking to the beginning sentences of the story—they are certainly very inspiring to read and say. I can really relate to this chapter, because I also don’t exactly know what my “hidden talent” is, either, and I wish that I could do something remarkable. Reading this chapter really makes me feel that I CAN do something accomplishing. I also loved the bits of dialogue that were very easy to relate to. I found the deaf pianist to be a shining example of the mother’s words—anyone can do anything they want to. It’s very poetic.
5. I believe that the conflict is human versus self. The main character wants to meet her mother’s wish for her to be some sort of prodigy. The mother wants to see something special in her daughter, especially when she hears about other child prodigies in the news and when she reads about them in magazines. I think that when the main character cheats her way through piano class, she is, in a way, trying to please her mother with some sort of talent, although it is a false one.
6. I think that this story has a great theme: that you can be whatever you want to be and do whatever you would like to do—it’s all in our hands, and that if we try our best we can accomplish anything—nothing is beyond our capacity. I enjoyed the chapter wholeheartedly and I found the ending to be satisfying and the theme to leave a good impression on me.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Maobertooo said...

The Not-So Prodigy

Two Kinds

1. I have seen excerpts of this chapter at least twice, once during an 8th grade district assessment test and once on a mock PSAT form. This chapter, therefore, seemed fairly familiar to me as I read through it, but during this third reading I was able to glean much more valuable insights. I felt that I could personally relate to June’s despair at failing her parent’s expectations, as my parents sometimes lament their disappointment when I fail to perfectly ace an exam because I did not study enough. Still, I felt that June’s mother’s expectations of her were a bit too far-fetched. It is one thing to be successful, which is a universal goal that all parents want their children to attain, and another to be extraordinary. The tests that June faces, such as predicting the weather or memorizing international capitals, are both trivial and products of intense desire. Unless June feels extremely interested in these subjects, she should not be forced to study them; rather, June’s mother should have let her pursue her own dreams.

2. The main character of this chapter is June Woo, a young girl who, after time and time again, fails to satisfy her mother’s demands. Like her childhood rival Waverly Jong, June faces a stern, demanding mother who wants her child to excel at everything. Anything short of excellence would mean failure for June, which is the mindset she encounters when her mother signs her up for piano lessons. Because June does not have sufficient self-confidence, she never really tries her best at mastering the piano, choosing to dawdle and fake her way through her lessons and practice sessions. After her disastrous performance at the talent show, June realizes that she can never live up to the dreams that her mother had envisioned for her daughter.

3. The prevailing conflicts in this chapter can be best characterized as both internal external: one that is human vs. self and another that is human vs. human. June faces the same problems that Waverly Jong faces during their childhood; June, however, never really meets any success while Waverly enjoys temporary stardom as the local chess champion. June thinks feels internal pressure to live up to her mother’s dreams yet at the same time she is scared to fail. Because of this hesitation, June is brought into direct conflict with her mother and their confrontation is expressed literally when June yells at her mother for forcing her to practice the piano.

4. One theme of this chapter would be to never give up one’s dreams because of outside pressures. Because her mother set her goals so high, June is forced to reach up to fulfill thee demands. But because her innate ability cannot help her, June ultimately fails, as she describes her mothers many failed hopes later in life. At the end of the chapter, when June is an adult, she realizes that she could have achieved more if she had been given the opportunity to discover her own sense of personal drive, her own ambition (what we Chinese call zi-jue).

-Albert Li

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

1. The Student Who Never Tried

2. "Two Kinds"

3. This is one of the few chapters that I liked because it reminded me of my childhood. My mom would get me to try out all sorts of things like playing the violin, piano, and abacus. I don't remember that well how to do most of these things anymore though, but now I wish that I tried learning them more. I thought that Jing-Mei wasn't trying that hard though, piano isn't that easy, and she had all this confidence while going upstage as if she could do it without any proper practice. I liked how Waverly the chess prodigy was in this though. A connection through the stories.

4.Jing-Mei's mother was a dreamer. She believed that anything was possible as long as you tried, that everybody had a hidden talent deep within them. She shows this by making Jing-Mei try out all sorts of stuff to unlock the prodigy within herself. Even though Jing-Mei wasn't that great at the piano, she believed that as long as she tried harder, it would be possible.

5. The problem here is human vs self. Jing-Mei refused to try, or believe that she herself could actually be a prodigy at something. However, if she tried harder, she would actually be able to play it as she learned when she was older. This problem was solved later when she was playing the piano and was actually able to play it a little even though she didn't play the piano for a long time.

6. The lesson of this story is to keep trying. Jing-Mei gave up even before she started playing the piano believing she couldn't do it. However, if you put your mind to it, you'll be able to do it one day. Never give up, and don't let the odds turn against you.

-Diana Li

Almost 2010!!!! Happy New Years!!

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

"All or Nothing"
Two Kinds
I enjoyed reading this chapter because I could relate to it really well. In the beginning, I thought Jing-mei's mother was really nice and had a very open mind. She welcomed new ideas and thought her daughter could be anything she wanted, like a prodigy. However, I think she was trying to use her in a way, as a way to fulfill her own dreams. Many adults use their children to accomplish things they wanted to do in their lives but couldn't. I didn't like the way Jing-mei's mom was bragging about the piano playing and it was funny how Jing-mei performed so badly. I can relate to this because when I was little, I didn't like playing piano and I would fight my mom a lot about it.

Jing-Mei is an obedient child until the incident at the piano recital. At first, she would go along with her mother's ideas and search for her inner talent. When she finally snaps, she reveals her true personality as being brash, defiant, and lazy. A good example of her laziness is how she doesn't try at her piano lessons.

The main conflict is human vs. human between Jing-Mei and her mom. They have arguments over their definitions of success. Her mother believes she can become anything if she tried enough, but Jing-Mei just gives up. This conflict is like the one between Amy Tan and her mother in the interview, where her mother wanted her to go to a good college and all that.

I think the theme of this chapter is that you should decide your own future and not let anyone else or 'fate' like in the other chapter decide it for you. That way, you don't have anyone to blame but yourself if you fail. The chapter also proved that even if you have talent, it wont do you any good if you dont work hard.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Toothpick said...

1. Jing Mei's piano
2. Two Kinds
3. I enjoyed this chapter; maybe not as much as the previous, but still a thumbs up. The pressure that Jing Mei's mother applies to her reminds me our parents, who do the same, but probably not to the same extent. I didnt understand some of the events in this chapter though like how Jing Mei's mother wouldnt notice that the piano teacher is deaf. Though, it was pretty smart of Jing Mei to find the easy way out
5. The main conflict is human vs human. Jing Mei refuses to believe there is hidden talent in herself while her mother constantly attempts to make a prodigy out of her.
6. One of the songs played on the piano by Jing Mei was the "Pleading Child" which could represent how Jing Mei's childhood was always her pleading to her mother. However, after her mother's death, Jing Mei decided to try the piano again, this time with effort. She found the song extremely easy. On the other side of the page was the song "Perfectly Contented" which complemented the first piece. This could symbolize how Jing Mei felt after; content.
-Vincent Nguyen, 3rd period

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Cucco Magic? said...

1.Assembled parts

2.Two kinds

3.I kind of liked the failure in the chapter, it kind of showed Jing-Mei, not to slack off, as she said even though I heard the wrong key, I didn’t correct myself (or something along these lines!). I also liked how they were at the joy luck club

4.Jing-Mei’s mother believed in America that you could do anything, which led her to push Jing-Mei

5.Human vs. Human Jing-Mei vs. Mom. The Mom was pushing Jing-Mei’s piano skills, after her failure, she accepts her and gave her the piano

6.I guessing the theme is to be your self, because that’s kind of what Jing-Mei wanted all this time. Her mother pushed her into piano skills when she didn’t want to.

Barely made it? 3 Mins. lolz 2010!

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

1. “Be Your Best”

2. ”Two Kinds”

3. This chapter was one I could relate to. Suyuan Woo tells her daughter that she wants her to be the best she can be, although it wouldn’t seem that way, due to her brash personality. Suyuan is persistent to turn Jing-Mei into a prodigy and gives her piano lessons. When Jing-Mei feels pressured by her mom, she tells her that she’s trying to be made into someone she’s not.

4. Jing-Mei is ignorant and stubborn. She does not realize that her mother’s intentions are good and that she wants Jing-Mei to succeed in life. Jing-Mei goes unprepared into a recital which I found to be really stupid. You can’t expect to do great without practicing. I also thought Jing-Mei was WAY out of line when she mentioned the babies her mother lost back in China. By not listening to her mother, she failed and never met her own expectations.

5. I thought the conflict was man vs. man, between Jing-Mei and her mother. Suyuan sets somewhat unrealistic expectations for Jing-Mei. Jing-Mei rebels against Suyuan because of this. As a kid, she was unaware that her mother only wanted her to live up to her potential. This might have been because Suyuan also brags like Lindo. Only when she is an adult, is she able to understand what her mother wanted.

6. The theme of this chapter is that you can do anything that you set your mind to. Jing-Mei didn’t put enough effort into playing piano and ended up quitting. Her mother tells her that she could have been a genius if [she] [wanted] to” (143). I agree with An-Mei, that you need to be the best you can be.

Brian Yang
Period 4

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger jessicaisabookworm said...

Jessica Lee
Period 4
1. Prodigy, Shmodigy
2. Two Kinds
3. I thought this was the most relatable chapter, the whole parental pressure bit. Jing-mei took up the piano because her mother forced her to and because of that she really resented it. She admits it that she could have been pretty good if she had really tried. I thought that Jing-mei wanted to be perfect at first because of her mother’s determination that Jing-mei will be perfect at something. I wonder why Suyuan didn’t except Jing-mei for who she was, maybe then Jing-mei would have stopped resenting her mother and pursue other interests that she might have been brilliant at.
4. I think that Jing-mei was a rather stubborn child. She had as much determination to “put a stop to [her mother’s] foolish pride” (pg138) as her mother was determined to make Jing-mei a prodigy.
5. I think the conflict was human vs. human, Jing-mei vs. An-mei. An-mei was trying to mold Jing-mei into a perfect, obedient, prodigious daughter. And Jing-mei was going against her mother.
6. I think the piano was a symbol in this chapter. It symbolizes what Jing-mei could have been, a genius, but she wasn’t. And when An-mei gives the piano to Jing-mei it’s like An-mei sort of accepts Jing-mei for who she is. Jing-mei even felt that the piano was “a shiny trophy” (pg.143)

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

1) Two Kinds.
2) Two Kinds.
3) This chapter is really interesting because of the fact that Jing-Mei doesn’t want to become anything even though she has the potential to become something. It really pisses me off too because she gets piano lessons and doesn’t take it seriously; however, the ending is kind of happy.
4) Jing-Mei is really rebellious. She constantly fights her mother’s wishes, even if it doesn’t benefit Jing-Mei. I think Jing-Mei is also kind of near-sighted, in the sense that she only thinks of satisfying her anger and rebelliousness for the moment, but never biting back in order to become something really good in the future.
5) The main conflict is human vs. human. Jing-Mei fights her mother by rebelling and not becoming great; however, by doing do, Jing-Mei sort of ruins her future.
6) The piano is a symbol of what Jing-Mei could’ve become and her mother’s expectations. The piano also symbolizes Jing-Mei’s failures: her failure at the recital, her failure to become something great, her failure to make her mother proud of her. The piano finally symbolizes Jing-Mei’s hope of becoming something great.

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Platinum said...

1. Aspirations

2. Two Kinds

3. One of the things that immediately came to my attention in this little vignette is how it relates to our society today. Even in modern times, many Asian children feel pressure from their parents to succeed, both in school and in extracurricular activities. In the same way, Jing-Mei is pushed by her mother to aspire in her talents and to become famous as well as talented. Even though Jing-Mei's family didn't have a lot of money and couldn't afford a piano at first, her mom sacrificed a lot to get her daughter a secondhand piano. This, I believe, reflects the mindset of a lot of parents because they will do anything to give their children what they never had in their own life. Some parents will try to force their children to be what they never could be.

4. One character that particularly caught my eye was Jing-Mei's mom. She had good intentions for making her child famous and successful, but her application of these ambitions was done in a way that wasn't healthy for her child. She kept her expectations, I felt, too high when Jing-Mei didn't want to lead the life that her mom wanted her to lead. For some reason, her mother doesn't realize that Jing-Mei doesn't want to be somebody that's really special, a prodigy, until the very end when they have a row over piano lessons.

5. The main conflict in this story is human vs. human. Jing-Mei and her mom are directly in opposition to each other because her mom wants to be famous and talented because she thought that Jing-Mei could do anything that she wanted to. In a way this is right, but Jing-Mei just wants to be a regular girl leading a regular life. She doesn't want to live up to the person that her mother thinks that she should be.

6. Personally, I think that the moral of this story is that you can achieve anything you set your mind. If Jing-Mei had tried harder and practiced better, she could have become greatly skilled at piano. Just like her, many people in the real world don't try hard at the things they do because they don't think that it will get them anywhere in life. But I think that everybody needs to realize that when somebody sets their mind to something and says," I'm going to do this!", they can. It's one's attitude that determines whether or not something is possible or impossible.
-Calvin Ho
Period 4

Friday, January 01, 2010 1:14:00 AM  
Blogger SHARK WEEK said...

1. "Motivational Television"
2. "Two Kinds"
3. This is an odd chapter for me in that however straightforward it was, or at least relatively so, I didn't quite fully grasp the meaning of it. Maybe it's just because of my expectations, but I simply feel as though there's so much more to it. Not to say there isn't to start with, though. Anyways, I liked this chapter and could relate to it with all the talk of potential and large expectations, which I'm sure others can also relate to.
4. Suyuan was a very strong and idealistic, if not stubborn, person, as evidenced by her past. She believes that if her daughter tries hard enough, and is able to unlock her hidden potential, she can do anything she wants. But Suyuan being so idealistic caused her to have very big goals for her daughter; goals that she just could accomplish. Suyuan may have had the will and strength, but sometimes it was just too much for others.
5. The conflict is human vs. human and a bit of human vs. self. Jing-Mei had to deal with her mother and her expectations and in a way, I suppose it was solved as Jing-Mei failed her mother's expectations. In that failure, though, she failed herself in a conflict of being something that great that wasn't so apparent.
6.A. The theme, I would say, goes back to Suyuan and her goals: a child shouldn't be confronted with goals that are so demanding as the one Suyuan had set for Jing-Mei. It was counter-productive as it overwhelmed Jing-Mei and killed her interest in becoming great.

-Nolan Tran

Friday, January 01, 2010 2:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gisellllle! said...

1. Bring it
2. Two Kinds
3. I thought this chapter was easy to relate to. It shows how parents have a lot of expectations for their children to be successful in life. But in this chapter, her mother’s expectations were too high for her daughter. Her mother believed that she would be a prodigy and she would become famous in America. I could only imagine how embarrassed Jing-Mei was when she was on that stage.
4. Jing-Mei was a stubborn child. Her mother wanted the best for her and she was too lazy. She was unprepared for the recital and as a result, she failed to meet her mother’s expectations.
5. I think the conflict is human vs. human. It’s an external struggle between Jing-Mei and her mother. Her mother set high expectations for Jing-Mei and she rejects to follow her mother’s wishes.
6. I think the piano symbolizes her mother’s expectations. Her mother wanted her to become a prodigy, but she failed to become something great at her own loss. When she makes a fool of herself at the recital. She failed at fulfilling her mother’s expectations.

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger DaoTheMackDaddy said...

1) "I do what I want!"

2) Two Kinds

3) Wow! I really loved this chapter because so far this is the only chapter I can REALLY make a connection with. I can see why sometimes Jing-Mei is intentionally trying to make her mom angry by not trying hard. I mean I sometimes do that too when my mom puts too much pressure on me to succeed in school. I actually kind of teared up at the end of the chapter when Jing-Mei's mother died. Overall, I really liked this chapter because of the connection and hope that there are more like this...

4) Jing-Mei is a rebel. Her mother wants her to be the best of the best, to stick out and show off her ability. But all Jing-Mei wants is a normal, average life. Eventually her mom pushed her to the limits and soon after Jing-Mei started to just BS everything she did and not give a damn. She even argues with her mother to prove a point. This shows that Jing-Mei is go through any obstacle to get the lifestyle that she wants.

5) The main conflict is clearly the conflict between Jing-Mei and her mother. Her mother simply wants the best for Jing-Mei, wants her to be someone. But Jing-Mei just wants to be a regular person and rebels against her mother to prove she wants to be average. This is resolved when it appears that Jing-Mei's mother accepts her for who she is on her thirtieth birthday.

6) This chapter easily relates to the allegory because in the allegory, the mother only wants the best for her daughter and doesn't want her to stray far away and turn the corner. Just like how in this chapter, Jing-Mei's mother only wants the best for her.

Saturday, January 02, 2010 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger Super Alien said...

To Be or Not to Be!
By Fiona Cheung
“Two Kinds”
I think this was my favorite chapter. When I flipped through it the first time, it seemed long but when I read it, it went by really fast because I could relate to it. I also found it humorous at how Jing Mei’s “Shirley Temple” hair ended up as “Peter Pan” and how the instructor even added “Peter Pan is very popular these days” (133). Jing Mei’s response to the capital of Finland was also funny. This chapter was easy to relate to because parents always want their children to be the best and the top students. Sometimes it’s as if they don’t want who we are; they want the ones who are so smart and so talented. However, this chapter was written in a way that can help us realize that they really just want the best for us. When Jing Mei disappointed her mother, that face of disappointment cut deep into my mind and I actually felt her hurt and hopelessness. In the end, everything parents do is for the best, but I have to admit that most of the times I do feel the pressure they put upon us to be the best. I was also surprised that the two mothers would brag about their daughters, though, because the Chinese are usually modest about their children.
Like all the other characters in this book, Jing Mei, too, seems like a mischievous girl. At first, though, she seems obedient because she obeyed all her mother’s wishes and went along with her mother’s imagination of her bright future. This chapter portrays how much she just wants to be loved by her mother in how hard she tries to fulfill her mother’s hopes and reach her standards. At the beginning, she had hope for herself as well and was “filled with a sense that [she] would become perfect. [Her] mother and father would adore [her]” (133). This speaks for all of us children who just wish our parents wouldn’t be so picky of us and would just love us. However, after failing one of the “tests” and breaking down in tears, we see another one person emerge in her, especially during the piano bench lecture. We see the strong rebellious Jing Mei who starts to disobey her mother and do what she wants, what she feels.
The main conflict in this chapter is Suyuan’s high standards for Jing-Mei and Jing-Mei’s difficulties in achieving them. This conflict is external, because it is between Suyuan and Jing-Mei, but also internal, because Jing-Mei struggles within herself over who she should be. Suyuan wants her daughter to be the best and Jing-Mei follows her mother’s hopes at first, but in the end, gives up. Throughout the way, Jing-Mei becomes disappointed in herself and seeing her mother’s same disappointed face, and instead decides to be herself and stop listening to her mom. This conflict is resolved, as her mother forgives her after their fight by giving her the piano.
The theme of this story is to focus on your goal and not give up. Jing-Mei never tried at the piano because she was determined in her mind that she couldn’t do it, rather than thinking she could. In the end, twenty years from then, when she starts to play the piano again, she realizes “how easily the notes came back” (144). She even managed the play the other songs fine—something she probably could not have done in the past with her off-pitch notes. If she had tried in the first place, she might not have embarrassed herself at the recital.

Thursday, January 07, 2010 3:55:00 PM  

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