In David Mamets essay The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood and Amy Tans story Jing-Mei Woo: Two Kinds, the authors describe their personal experiences. The essay and story are based upon the authors childhood memories. There are many similarities and differences in Mamets and Tans works. Both authors describe a childhood conflict; however, Mamet does not resolve his conflict whereas Tan does resolve it.
The conflict between Tan and her mother occurs because her mother pressures her into being a prodigy, and Tan cannot do that. When Tan rebels against her mother, Tans mother says, Only one kind of daughter can live in this house! Obedient daughter! This proves that Tans mother is concerned with her daughters obedience toward her. It is impossible, however, for Tan to become a prodigy. Tan is frustrated because she cannot live up to her mothers standards and she disobeys her mothers wishes because they are unachievable. Mamet and his sister conflict with their parents as well, because of an abusive relationship within the family. Mamets mother, like Tans mother, does not want her daughter to rebel.
For example, when Mamets sister does not eat dinner, the mother prohibits her from performing in her school play. Mamets sister is not hungry because she is nervous, and her mother punishes her severely for something that is uncontrollable. This unfair treatment is similar to Tans because both Tan and Mamets sister are unable to fulfill their parents standards. Although the conflict and parents responses are similar, Mamet responds to his childhood in a different manner from Tan.
Mamet learns from his abusive childhood that it is acceptable to use violence toward women. When Mamets sister says something that makes him angry he throws a rake at her face and several hurts her. There is no resolution to Mamets conflict because Mamet leaves the house without making up with his family; instead of resolving his conflict, Mamet escapes from it. In contrast, Tan does resolve the conflict with her mother. Her mother offers her the piano when she becomes an adult, and she describes it as a shiny trophy she won back. Tan also has the piano tuned and reconditioned, and even tries to play it again.
The piano is a symbol for her childhood, and when she restores the piano, she overcomes her childhood conflict with her mother. The song that Tan uses to symbolize her adult life, Perfectly Contented, is evidence that Tan settles the conflict with her mother. It proves that Tan does not blame her mother; rather, Tan forgives her mother for the childhood conflict Tan dealt with. Mamet and Tan describe their childhoods similarly, because they have similar disagreements with their parents.
However, the major difference between the two authors is the way they grow out of their childhood conflicts. Mamet does not resolve the conflict with his family with his family whereas Tan makes up with her mother in the end. Whether or not a person settles a conflict is not reliant on the nature of the conflict itself. Resolution depends on the personalities and morals of the people involved.