In the urge to give the 'best' to their children, parents sometimes go wrong in the things that they do. In the short story 'Two Kinds' by Amy Tan, the narrator's mother had the perception that her daughter could become anything that she set her mind to doing. In trying to accomplish this, she forced her to go through hard times as she pursued her dreams. Initially, she thought she could become a Chinese Shirley Temple.
This made her force the narrator to watch old Chinese movies on television as if to train her. "Ni kan. You Watch". (Tan 210) Later, she enrolled her at a beauty training school and when she could not keep up the standards, the mother would get angry. She even compared the narrator to other children who were successful or who she had seen on TV or in magazines. This indicates a mother whose aim is to give the best to her child but does not know how to do it. This seems to have had a great effect on the narrator because the vents of her childhood still linger in her mind 20 years later. (Tan 28)
In the short story 'A Rose for Emily' by William Faulkner, the narrator talks about the effect of a father's control till her death. Emily's family had turned away many suitors terming them as not good enough for her. This had resulted in Emily being single and lonely. This is because the father was a wealthy man and thought too high of him. His desire to give the best to her daughter had resulted to her loneliness and seclusion from the society. Her loneliness affects her for so many years that she kills the man that she intended to marry. (Robinette and Faulkner 19)
In Faulkner's short story, it is clear that there exists parent-child love. This is evident from the large sum of money that Emily's father gives to the state such that she would not pay any taxes. This is an indication of a father who wanted no burdens on his daughter. It is also apparent that Emily loves her father because when he dies, she remains in denial for three days. She also remained calm waiting for the right man to come along as her father had told her.
In Tan's short story, there is also parent-child love. This is evident through the way the narrator's mother goes to great extents to get information about child stars. This shows the love that she has for her daughter. She even takes her to a beauty school so that her hair can be turned into the blondes who are music stars. The narrator seems to have some love for her mother because in the end, she regrets not having taken her classes seriously. Her love towards her mother is shown when she accepts the piano and continues to play it even after her death.(Tan 217)
In Tan's story, the idea of success according to the narrator's mother is becoming a child music star. It is also clear that success to her includes her daughter being better than her friend's daughter. The mother hoped that her daughter would become a child prodigy but she does not. However, her fears are confirmed during the recital when the narrator completely disappoints her. The narrator on the other hand is annoyed by the fact that her mother pushes her too much. She is so angry that she does not take her classes seriously and intentionally does so to make a fool out of her mother. (Tan 220)
In Faulkner's short story, the idea of success according top Emily's father is her daughter's marriage to a man from the same social class. However, this success is not achieved. This is because Emily poisons the man she intended to marry. She lived her life wishing she had been married. This was apparent after her death when the neighbors found a room filled with wedding materials and Homer's body decaying. This is an indication that marriage had affected her sense of self to the extent that she committed murder. (Robinette and Faulkner 26)
In Faulkner's short story, the idea of money and social class seems to have ruined Emily's life. This is evident because her father held on to this idea for so long that she never got married to any of her suitors. The money he left so that she could not pay taxes also made her withdraw from the society. This was especially evident when she was taken to court over the stench that was emanating from her compound. The fact that she could not marry just anyone made her kill her husband-to-be. This led to her denial for many years and she died lonely. (Robinette and Faulkner 30)
In Tan's short story, the narrator's mother wanted her daughter to be a child star. This was because she wanted to be proud of her. She also did these out of envy of her friend's children. She wanted her family to attain a certain social class through her daughter's fame. Eventually, she was very disappointed during her daughter's recitals. This also cost her daughter's happiness. The narrator also seemed to loose self esteem by the passing of each day. This was because her ambitious mother was pressuring her too much. (Tan 226)
From the two short stories, it is clear that parents may at times remold their children into different kinds of individuals through their ambitions and pride. Many are the times when these children may suffer emotional breakdown leading to regrettable actions. Therefore, it is the role of parents to let their children follow their heart desires. The most that they can do is guide them to differentiate right and wrong but not imposing lifestyles on their children.
Parents may at times try to satisfy their needs of what they wish to have through their children. However, they fail to understand that they may be negatively affecting the self drive of their children this is evident in the two short stories. In Tan's short story, the narrator's mother hoped to gain fame through her child. This affected the narrator so much that despite the fact that she was interested in music, she chose to o bad so as to disappoint her mother. Through her ambition, the narrator's mother destroyed the good will of her daughter. In Faulkner's short story, Emily's father denied her the chance to be happily married. Eventually, she remained alone and became a murderer. (Robinette and Faulkner 25)
In Faulkner's short story, it is evident that as Emily grew older she became distressed due to her lack of a happy marriage. She had probably longed to become an adult and get married but her father shattered her dream. In Tan's short story, the narrator longed to grow older and live her life as she wanted without her mother's pressure. (Tan 223)
In Faulkner's story, Emily's lack of empathy caused her dire consequences. She had become secluded from the society and she had become condemned. In Tan's short story, the narrator's mother lack of empathy had cost her daughter's happiness. In both stories, there was a great divergence in the children's dreams and those of their parents. This had resulted in Emily's loneliness and hard heartedness and the narrator's sadness in 'Two Kinds'.
It should be noted that a child's sense of self may greatly contrast that of their parents. This is apparent in 'Two Kinds' by Tan. The narrator had chosen to intentionally disappoint her mother. Parents have responsibilities over their children but they should not take advantage of this fact.