In the short story “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan, with the use of epiphany and turning points the reader is able to see the protagonist’s growth and change in personality throughout the story. The protagonist, Jing-Mei and her mother emigrated from China to the US, thus the family struggled in adapting to the new culture and lifestyle. Heavily influenced by the opportunities and hopes with a new life in US, Jing-Mei’s mother wanted Jing-Mei to become a prodigy like the other girls on television. Jing-Mei was determined and eager to prove to her mother she was a prodigy, and thereby had full confidence in herself.
She believed “[her] mother and father would adore [her and she’d be] beyond reproach. ” (pg4). As Jing-Mei’s mother quizzed Jing-Mei with countless questions and tests, Jing-Mei started getting frustrated by her mother’s disappointments and “something inside [her] began to die” (pg 5). But at the same time when she stood in front of the mirror “the girl staring back at [her] was angry, powerful. ” (pg 5) and she saw “what seemed to be [a] prodigy inside of [her]” (pg 5). Jing-Mei’s mother then encouraged Jing-Mei to play piano and perform in a talent show.
When Jing-Mei’s turn came, she was confident and thought “without a doubt, that the prodigy inside of [her] really did exist” (pg 7). However, as she started playing “[she] was surprised when [she] hit the first wrong note. And then hit another and another” (pg 7). In the end, Jing-Mei’s performance was nothing like she expected she “felt the shame of [her] mother and father as they sat stiffly through the rest of the show” (pg 7). After the talent show, Jing-Mei’s was devastated and decided she was never going to play piano anymore; she could never be the prodigy or daughter her mother wants her to be.
As a consequence Jing-Mei starts to follow her own path, she “did not believe [that she] could be anything [she] wanted to be, [she] could only be [her]” (pg 9). She blamed most of her misery on her mother. This this significance change in attitude portrays profoundly how turning points in life alters a person’s perspective and persona. Short story “The Stolen Party” by Liliana Hecker similarly shows how turning points can change in the way a person view things and their initial personality. In “Stolen Party” the protagonist, Rosaura just like Jing-Mei had full confidence in herself.
She believed she was invited to a party as a guest, she firmly declares “[she’s] been invited because Luciana is [her] friend” (pg 11). However, her mother, who is a maid for Luciana’s family warns Rosaura that Luciana “is not [her] friend” (pg 11) and that Rosaura is only recognized as the ‘maid’s daughter’. Her mother also advises Rosaura not to go the part because it’s a “rich people’s party” (pg 11). Rosaura disregards her mother and attends the party anyways. At the party, Rosaura is treated like a guest and asked to participate in the activities, she also received a delightful compliment from the magician.
This made Rosaura proud and encouraged. When the party ended, Senora Ines were gaving out pink and blue bags to the the guests at the party. Roasaura expected Senora Ines to also hand her the goodie, but when it was her turn “Senora Ines didn’t look in the pink bag. Nor did she look in the blue bag. Instead she rummaged in her purse. In her hand appeared two bills. ” (pg 14). Rosaura has an epiphany, she realizes she wasn’t invited as a guest to the party, but rather as a servant to help out like a “[Senora Ines’] pet” (pg 14).
Just like Jing-Mei, Rosaura’s perspective changes instantly. She suddenly understands what her mother has been trying to teach her and is now well aware of her position and social status, and so she “instinctively press herself against her mother’s body” (pg 14) for support. This shows the difference in her initial personality. In conclusion, in “Two Kinds” and “The Stolen Party” the protagonist’s turning points and epiphanies play a significant role in the altering of their perspective and persona.
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