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Character­ization of Jing-Mei Woo's mother

Jing-Mei Woo's mother is one main character in Amy Tan's short story "Two Kinds" from 1989. She also gets featured in "The Joy Luch Club" where we get to know her first name, namely: Suyuan.

First of all, some general information about her: "[Suyuan came to the USA] in 1949 after losing everything in China: her mother and father, her family home, her first husband and two daughters, twin baby girls." written down inline 8-10. She lives in a flat with her daughter Jing-Mei Woo also called June and her nickname is "Ni kan". The relationship to June's father, Canning Woo, isn't mentioned directly but they sit together in the local talent show (l. 249) and we can assume they live together as a result that he has a key for the apartment (l. 272). Besides that she works as a housecleaner (l. 49-50 and l. 127). The reader gets the impression that her favourite free-time activity is watching tv like Shirley's old movies (l. 13) or "The Ed Sullivan Show" (l. 92).

As fas as her character is concerned, I would say she is a bit naive for the reason that she holds strong beliefs in the American Dream (l. 1). Not everyone can be rich and only a little percentage achieves this. Also, the probability to have a prodigy as a daughter is speaking against her.

Despite that, she is very ambitious. Suyuan is constantly looking for new possible talents and prepares tests: "Every night after dinner, my mother and I would sit at the Formica kitchen table. She would present new tests..." (line 45-46). On top of this, she organises her daughter piano lessons by Mr Chong (l. 126).

Additionally, Jing-Mei Woo's mother ist strict and ruthless. Although June is sich of these test and doesn't want to be a prodigy like she declares in line 132 by crying "Why don't you like me the way I am? I'm not a genius. I can't even play the piano. And even if I could I wouldn't go on TV if you pay me a million dollar." This also shows that she is merciless and relentless.

Furthermore, Jing-Mei Woo's mother is resolute. This character trait becomes especially apparent after the setback of the talent show disaster. Previously bragging about June's talent to Lindo inline 195, now embarrassed by the failure and already on the next day, she reminds her daughter at four o'clock to turn off the TV to start practising again (beginning inline 280). So nothing can't bring her up from her way.

To highlight at least some positive character traits, Suyuan has bling faith in her daughter, whereas the execution could be rethought as June is suffering under her.

And finally, later in the story, She apologizes to June in the form of gifting her the piano. This behaviour indicates self-reflection though it is a bit late for the reason that it's her daughter's thirtieth birthday (l. 337)

In sum, we can conclude that Jing-Mei Woo's mother shows in the story more negative than positive character traits.


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