Literary Devices in "Two Kinds"

John Bazemore 8/24/12


A small apratment in Chinatown Section of San Francisco, California.



Exposition: Ni Kon's mom wants her daughter to become a child prodigy by exploiting her so called "talents". Ni Kon's mom keeps giving her daughter differetnt tests trying to find out her prodigy's talent, making Ni Kon frustrated at every attempt and failure.                                                                                                                                                Rising Action: Ni Kon's mother enrolls her in piano lessons given by their downstairs neighbor Mr. Chong. Ni Kon practices and is average at playing piano when she finds out how to cheat her practice. Ni Kon and her mom meet a young chinese girl prodigy which makes Ni Kon's mom brag about her prodigy and sign her up for a talent show.                            Climax: Ni Kon plays in the talent show and does horribly at to which her mom becomes extremely embarressed. Ni Kon does not know how badly she did until she gets home and her mom doesnt say a word, but simply goes straight to bed.                                                                                                                                            Falling Action: Ni Kon and her mother get in a big fight and Ni Kon refuses to live up to her mother's expectations. In the following years Ni Kon dissapoints her mom again and again and they just dont become great friends.                                                                                                                                  Resolution: On Ni Kon' 30th birthday her mom offers to give her the piano but Ni Kon refuses the offer and just decides to furnish it and leave it in the house. After Ni Kon's mother dies Ni Kon looks back at the music she was supposed to play and realized the song was in two parts, like her.

Internal Conflict

The internal conflict is inside Ni Kon's head because she does not know what she wants to be. She wants to be a star but she also wants to contravene her mother.

External Conflict

The external conflict is a constant fight between Ni Kon and her mother about whether she will be a prodigy or not. Ni Kon keeps refuting her mother's efforts to try and turn her daughter into a star.


To me the theme is that a mother knows best. You can see this in the story because the entire time Ni Kon fights her mother's efforts and in the end she realizes that her mother was right the entire time when she looks at the music. Ni Kon knows what her mother was saying when she realized she had turned from "Peading Child" to "Perfectly Contented" and that just like the song she was two halves of a whole.


In the story the piano is a main symbol that reflects the girl's image. The piano itself holds in the conflicts of Ni Kon's childhood. When the mother tries to give the piano to Ni Kon all of the former tension is broken.

Question #8

When the girl looks in the mirror she sees herself but also a different version of herself. When she looks at herself she sees a prodigy and a rebelious girl who doesn't want to listen to her mother. This relates to the title "two kinds" because she sees to kinds of girls in the mirror rather than just her normal self.

Question #9

The two characters in this story dont get along well because they are both so hard headed and want their own way even if they know they should agree with the other.

Question #10

In the mother's earlier life in China she lost her children and left to america only with the memories of them to hold onto. She pushes all of her hopes for all of her children into the one daguhter she had left to seem like she was still acheiving what she would've with all of her other children.