Joy Luck Club Essay, Research Paper
November 5, 2000
In Amy Tan?s ?Two Kinds,? Tan uses the central conflict and symbolism to emphasize the idea that achieving the American Dream is a struggle and can lead to disappointment. The central conflict of the story is about the mother wanting her daughter to become a child prodigy, but her daughter cannot fulfill her mother?s dream. And, Tan uses the piano symbolizes hope, but also failure for the daughter and mother to accentuate the idea of dreams can be defeated.
Tan uses the central conflict between the mother and daughter to exemplify the theme that the American Dream is hard to reach and can be broken. The mother is preoccupied in having her daughter become a child prodigy and living the ?American Dream.? She puts a lot of pressure on her daughter and makes her daughter play the piano, take acting lessons, and learn random facts in certain subjects. The mother also believes in her daughter could be anything. The narrator, who is the daughter says, ?my mother believes you could be anything you wanted to be in America?you could become instantly famous.? (Pg.652). However, the daughter does not want to be a prodigy, nor does she believe she could become one. The mother has so much hope for her daughter, but she does not want is so much like her mother.
Tan uses the piano as a symbol to represent hopes and failures of the daughter and the mother?s dreams. At first, the piano symbolizes hope for the daughter to become a child prodigy in piano playing because she had failed in acting already, so the piano represents a new start for the daughter and her mother?s dreams. ?Three days after watching The Ed Sullivan Show, my mother told me what my schedule would be for piano lessons and piano practice?my mother had traded house cleaning services for weekly lessons and a piano for me to practice on everyday, two hours a day, from four until six.? (pp.654). The mother worked extra hours just so her daughter could have a chance at playing the piano. This shows that the mother made a great effort for her daughter to be able to become a prodigy. However, when the daughter hits the wrong notes while playing at a piano recital, she knew her chance was over in becoming a prodigy in piano playing. The daughter sees the mess-up as a failure and then quits playing the piano. ?For after our struggle at the piano, she never mentioned my playing again. The lessons stopped, the lid to the piano was closed, shutting out dust, misery, and her dreams.? (pp.659). When the daughter closes the lid to the piano, the closing of the lid symbolizes the daughter?s shutting out her misery, but it also signifies shutting out her mother?s dreams and her hope to become a prodigy forever.
In Amy Tan?s ?Two Kinds,? Amy Tan a central conflict and symbolism to show the theme that dreams do not always come true. The literary devices are important to show how the mother wants so much for her daughter, but it ends up in failure. The mother wants her daughter to live the ?American Dream,? which involves her being a child prodigy. However, the daughter does not want to be a prodigy and gets impatient with herself. Finally, the piano symbolizes how dreams can turn into failure.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club