Two Kinds characters The main characters in “Two Kinds” are Jing-mei Woo and also her mother Suyuan Woo.

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Jing-mei Woo is a Chinese American girl whose mommy wants she to become a boy prodigy. Jing-mei rebels versus her mummy wishes and asserts the she will certainly not enable her mom to readjust who she is. Suyuan Woo is Jing-mei’s mother. She immigrant to California indigenous China, where she had actually to leaving her twin daughters behind. She attempts to forcefully form Jing-mei into a son prodigy, however Jing-mei’s outburst the she wishes she to be dead favor her mother’s twins puts an finish to this dream.
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last Updated on august 3, 2020, through Editorial. Word Count: 1032

Jing-mei Woo

Jing-mei (who frequently goes through the first name “June”) is a first-generation Chinese American woman. She narrates “Two Kinds” in previous tense as she reflects ago on her childhood struggles against her now-deceased mother’s seemingly difficult expectations. Jing-mei’s childhood is defined by insecurity and a fear of failure. Though she is at an initial enthusiastic about her mother"s efforts to do her a prodigy, she quickly becomes disillusioned with the process. Despite Jing-mei’s mounting reservations, she mother proceeds to press her, leading Jing-mei to build self-esteem issues related come her noticeable lack of any type of special “genius.” She views herself together a “sad, ugly girl” that is only capable of being “ordinary” together opposed to the extraordinary things her mommy expects the her. This negative outlook fuel Jing-mei’s anger and also resentment towards her mother. 


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Wishing to rebel versus what she perceives as her mother"s do the efforts to adjust her, Jing-mei refuses to placed genuine initiative into anything she mother urges her to execute as a matter of principle. Essentially, Jing-mei is fighting for her appropriate to it is in “ordinary.” In her mind, she mother’s expectation of excellence are an initiative to change who she is, so she resists this affect by refusing to adjust or prosper at all. She admits that she never ever really offered herself a chance to be an excellent at the piano since she was so determined “not to it is in anybody different.” 

This maladaptive attitude stems indigenous a mix of insecurity and stubbornness; because that Jing-mei, “the best to fall short of expectations” is the only sense of regulate she has actually over her life. By defying she mother’s expectations, she asserts her own will, as opposed to being the “obedient daughter” that her mother expects her to be. This attitude enables her to embrace a feeling of independent identity that isn’t notified by parental expectation or outside influences. Yet, at the exact same time, it likewise prevents her from reaching her full potential in something she does, together she has staked her entire identity on the right to be “ordinary.” She rejects her mother’s confidence in her capability to be anything she wants to be, rather asserting the she is only qualified of being herself.

Despite their tumultuous relationship, Jing-mei desperately craves her mother’s approval, and also their tense connection after Jing-mei’s devastating piano recital appears to stand for a source of pain and regret for Jing-mei throughout she life. As soon as her mother offers to give her the old piano for she thirtieth birthday, Jing-mei feels as though she has reclaimed a “shiny trophy,” implying the she views her mother"s approval and also pride together something valuable. Jing-mei presume that between her dreadful piano recital and cruel words, her mother had lost “hope” in her. The offering of the piano to represent a healing moment for both mother and daughter, and it permits Jing-mei come realize the her mother constantly had confidence in her. This acknowledgment is bittersweet, and as Jing-mei opens up the lid the the piano because that the very first time in years, she achieves a sort of peace with the past, as represented by the change between the piano song “Pleading Child” and also “Perfectly Contented.” 

Suyuan Woo

Jing-mei’s mother, Suyuan Woo, is a Chinese immigrant who concerned San Francisco if fleeing the violence of the Chinese Communist Revolution. Jing-mei remarks that her mother lost “everything” in China, and her almost manic id in the American Dream appears to stem at the very least in part from a desire because that those casualty to have actually been precious something. As a result, Jing-mei’s mommy places all of her expectations and hopes for the future ~ above Jing-mei. However, though she intentions space good, she actions only serve come alienate and frustrate her daughter. Jing-mei views she mother’s lofty expectations together a burden, and she resents she mother’s insistence that she have the right to do noþeles she puts her mind to. Jing-mei no hope craves her mother’s approval, but her mommy only ever before seems qualified of expressing disappointment in her evident lack the genius.

Much that Jing-mei’s partnership with her mom is characterized by miscommunication and misunderstanding. Jing-mei falsely believes the her mother will only be happy v her if she is a “genius” at something. Once she confronts her mother about these difficult expectations, however, her mommy replies by incredulously asking, "Who ask girlfriend to be genius?" she mother’s obvious confusion argues that possibly Jing-mei’s interpretations of she mother’s actions to be not always accurate. 

Jing-mei’s mom goes on to state that she only ever wanted Jing-mei to be the ideal that she was capable of being. Jing-mei taken this together an impossible standard, can not to recognize why her mom has set her expectations so high. In reality, her mother seems to believe that Jing-mei’s potential important is unlimited, and she just wants to see her daughter placed in the initiative necessary to unlock that potential. Though her mother’s demanding nature and also inability to connect her true intentions alienated Jing-mei, their connection is ultimately characterized by Jing-mei’s mother’s enduring faith in her daughter. The gift the the piano for Jing-mei’s thirtieth birthday symbolizes the Jing-mei’s mom never truly lost her faith in she daughter, as Jing-mei believed that she had; instead, she allowed Jing-mei come assert her own will and also define her own path in life, every the while believing in Jing-mei’s unlimited potential.

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Mr. Chong

Mr. Chong is Jing-mei’s deaf and visually impaired piano teacher. That agrees to teach her to pat in exchange for cleaning services from Jing-mei’s mother. Jing-mei takes advantage of Mr. Chong’s impairments in order to gain away v not practicing or improving on the piano. 

Lindo and also Waverly Jong

Lindo Jong is a girlfriend of Jing-mei’s mother. They are both part of a mahjong team that calls itself the joy Luck Club. Lindo’s daughter, Waverly, is a chess prodigy, and also Lindo regularly brags around Waverly’s achievements to her friends. Jing-mei’s mom has arisen a competitive relationship with Lindo and also some that her motivation for advertise Jing-mei so tough seems come be she rivalry through Lindo.