Pushed to Perfection

Pushed to Perfection in “Two Kinds” and “The Yellow Wallpaper”

In the short stories “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, both protagonists, Jing Mei and the Narrator, are controlled and pushed by the people who look after them because these people want to make Jing Mei and the Narrator better. In “Two Kinds” Jing Mei’s attentive mother controls her because of her mother’s goal to become a prodigy in America. Her mother pushes her because she wants Jing Mei to succeed in life. When she forces Jing Mei to learn new talents, she restricts her from doing what Jing Mei wants to do. Because Jing Mei’s mom demands perfection so excessively, it causes Jing Mei to not want to try anymore. Jing Mei starts to give up because when she does try to impress her mom, her mom is always disappointed and never appreciates what she has done. This causes Jing Mei to think, “I had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lots of won’ts. I won’t let her change me, I promised myself. I won’t be what I’m not” (Tan 47). This quote shows how even though her mother is trying to make Jing Mei’s life better, the urge for perfection is making it worse because Jing Mei is scared that it is causing her to change who she truly is as a person. After Jing Mei decides that she wants to be herself, she rebels by not participating fully in her piano lessons. Even though she seems harsh, the mother is pushing Jing Mei because she loves and cares for her. Overall, the push for perfection causes Jing Mei and her mother to have a restricting relationship because Jing Mei is controlled throughout her childhood.
Comparatively, the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is similar to Jing Mei because she is pushed and controlled; John controls her when he tries to help her cure her excessive nervousness. John does this her by deciding what she does, where she goes, and what she can do. Like Jing Mei’s mom, John restrains the narrator out of love...