Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Malysa Delozier 24 August 2012


The story is set in San Fransico's Chinatown, one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia.


Jing-mei is the daughter of Chinese immagrants whose mother wants her to be a prodigy, but Jing-mei doesn't want to be a prodigy. The Mother is a Chinese immagrant who wants her daughter to be a prodigy in America. Mr. Chong is a deaf piano instructer who teaches Jing-mei to play the piano, but he doesn't know how bad she really is.


In the exposition, Jing-mei's mother wants her to be an American born prodigy. But Jing-mei doesn't really want to be a prodigy. In the rising action, Jing-mei's mother quizzes her and she fails every test but doesn't care. Then, her mother hires a deaf piano teacher and wants her to become a great piano player. Then, her parents buy her a cheap piano so she can practice. In the climax, Jing-mei's mother signs her up for a recital, but she hasn't practiced at all so she didn't do a good job. She wasthe worst onr there. In the falling action, Jing-mei and her mother fight and Jing-mei mentions her dead baby brothers and sisters. After that, they never talked again. In the resolution, Jing-mei's mother gives her the piano for her 30th birthday, her mother dies and Jing-mei played "Pleading Child' and "Perfectly Contented" and realized they were two halves of the same song. :)

Internal Conflict

Jing-mei fights with herself because she doesn't really care to become a prodigy, so she slacks off and hopoes her mom will yell at her for not doing anything to be great. But her mother doesnt yell at her until Jing-mei doesn't practice the piano at 4 o'clock.

External Conflict

Jing-mei and her mother fight constantly about wanting her to become a prodigy. They fight when Jing-mei doesnt practice the piano. When her and her mother fight, Jing-mei yells at her mom that she wished she was dead like the dead babies Jing-mei and her never talk about. And when Jing-mei doesn't want to take the piano for her 30th birthday.


The theme in "Two Kinds" is based upon the dynamic between Jing-mei and her mother. Since Jing Mei's mother lived a difficult life in China, she pressures Jing Mei to excel in America where it is much easier to become something great. While her mother thinks that you be anything you want to be in America, Jing-mei doesn't really care. Jing-mei's mother wants her to become a prodigy. so, before she knew it, Jing-mei was being tested on things like the capitals of countries or states. After Jing-mei stopped learning, her mother wanted her to become a great piano player. So Jing-mei's mother goes and hires a deaf piano teacher to teach King-mei how to play, but what she doesnt realize is that Jing-mei doesnt want to become a prodigy.


The piano is a symbolic trophy to Jing-mei. In the beginning, she didn't want to play it, but in the end, she had it tuned up and polished. In the very end, she played and it reminder her of the two songs she played, "Perfectly Contented" and "Pleading Child" and relized they were two hlaves of the same song.

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?

Jing-mei sees a "sad, ugly girl." But what she sees afterward, she sees the prodigy side of her. The thematic significance of this is when you see yourself, you don't see all the potentials you have inside. It relates to the title because there are two sides to Jing-mei.

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

The mother wanted her daughter to become a prodigy, but the daughter didn't want to become one. So, they fight all the time and never resolve the problem.

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

She wants her to be the best that she can be. So, she pressures Jing-mei into becoming a piano prodigy.