Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Mack MacGruer 8/24/12


This story takes place in Chinatown, San Francisco.


Jing mei and the mother fight with each other during the whole story. Also, the mother wants Jing mei to become a young prodigee.


One theme of this story is that mothers can be difficult, but really they just want the best for you. no matter how bad things might get, and no matter how much fighting there is, a mother will never try to hurt you


Exposition- the mother and the daughter move to San Francisco

Rising Action- The mom thinks that she can make her daughter into the Asian Shirley Temple. She tries everything she can to make her daughter succeed at something, but it does not work. The daughter purposly fails all of her mother efforts.

Climax- After weeks and weeks of Piano lessons, the daughter goes to a talent show. At first she does really well, but then she goes downhill from there. she was very embarassed that she could not play the piano well.

Resolution- Jing Mei's mother decides to stop pushing her daughter because she would not apply herself at anything she was forced to do.

Internal Conflict

Jing Mei has to fight with herself all throughout the story because she really doesn't want to go to piano lessons but she knows she has to. She does not like her mother because of what she is trying to do for her, and she also has to fight herself to not take her anger out on her mother.

External Conflict

Jing Mei fought with her mother a lot. Near the end of the story her mother drags her to the piano and Jing Mei tries to fight her by kicking. This external conflict is Man v. Man. Also, Jing Mei has to learn to go with whatever her mom has set up for her to do, and know that her mom will not stop until she succeeds.


The main symbol in this story is realized at the end of the book. When Jing Mei's mother dies, and Jing Mei is alone, she looks at the piano her mother had bought her for practice. It reminded her of her past and of everything that happened, but mostly, it reminded her of her mother.

In the first part of the story there is a scene in which the daughter sees herself in the mirror. What does she see? What thematic significance could this scene have? How does it relate to the title?

When Jing Mei looks in the mirror, she sees herself as just another average girl. Nothing special to give to the world, nothing weird about her. This could mean that she never will see herself as the next Shirley Temple, and she will never see herself as a famous pianist, or as anyone famous at all. She has no faith in herself to try to become someone special, so she doesn't try.

This relates to the title because there can be two main types of people in the world. Ones that succeed and never give up, and others that don't try and don't succeed.

Two strong-willed characters are pitted against each other in this story. What went wrong in the relationship between mother and daughter?

Jing Mei's mother wanted her to be someone that she didn't to be. She didn't want her mother to keep trying to make her famous, and she didn't want her mother to keep forcing her to do things that she didn't want to do or couldn't do.

Read carefully the parts dealing with the mother’s earlier life in China. How have her earlier experiences shaped her ambitions for her daughter?

Jing Mei's mother wanted her daughter to succeed in America because when she thought of America, she thought that it was the easiest place in the world to make a living. Jing Mei's mother thought that it would be very easy for Jing Mei to become the next Shirley Temple or a famous pianist.