Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Gracie Bondurant 8/23/12


The setting in thisstory is a little town called Chinatown in San Francisco. Its streets are full of people and restaurants and places to go.
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The main characters in this story are Ni kan who is a young girl who grows older as the story progresses. Also, her mother is a main character. She pushes her daughter to be a prodigy. Mr. Chong, who Ni kan calls "Old Chong" is Ni kans def piano teacher. Some background characters are Antie Lindo, Uncle Tin, and Waverly and her two brothers.
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In Two Kinds, Ni kans mother pushes her to be a child prodegy. Over the years Ni kan decides that she is not going to ever be good at anything, so she decides just to give up. When the mother decides to send her daughter to Mr. Chong, the def piano teacher, Ni kan decides she will slack off. When finally Ni kan is entered  in a talent show, she goes on stage and does terrible. Her mother gets extremely dissapointed but still insists that she takes piano lessons until finally, Ni kan refuses. As she grows older, she doesnt suceed at much. She doesnt get straight As and she drops out of college. Once Ni kan is thirty, her mother gives her back the piano. Ni kan sees this as a forgiveness present and eventually takes it. Once she takes it, Ni kan tries to play it and realizes that it is easier than she remembered, she just had to try. Ni kan reflects that if her mother hadnt have pushed her so hard to be a musical prodegy, then maybe she would have done something better with her life.

Internal Conflict

Ni kan struggles with her emotions in this story. At first she wants to live up to her mothers expectations. But as she keeps on trying and failing, her self belief gets smaller and smaller. Eventually she believes that she will never be a prodegy or good at anything. This leads her to stop trying to be good at what her mother wants her to do.
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External Conflict

Once external conflict is that Ni kans piano teacher is def. This allows Ni kan to cheat and get away with it. Eventually she learns to play the wrong keys and not correct it. Another major external conflict is when Ni kan refuses to go back to piano lessons after her failure at the talent show. Her and her mother argue and fight until eventually the mother gives in.
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In this story, Ni kan is constantly being pushed to be something that she doesnt want to be. Her confidence gets crushed every time she fails. If you are always held up to high expectations and you fail, eventually your self esteem will be almost nothing. This happens as a result of Ni kans constant pressure from her mother. She finally cracks and decides she will never live up to her mothers expectations.
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In Two Kinds, Ni kans mother gives her the piano that Ni kan practiced piano lessons on for her thirtieth birthday. Her mothers action symbolises forgivenes. They both want to move on with their lives and forget the past.
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What Does Ni kan See When She Looks In The Mirror?

Early in the story, Ni kan looks at herself in the mirror. She sees just an ordinary sad, ugly girl staring back at her. Then, she sees a prodigy side of her. An powerful and angry side. This  explain the title "Two Kinds" because she sees herself as having to kinds, one ordinary one, and one angry powerful one.
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What went wrong in the relationship between mother and daughter?

In Two Kinds, Ni kans mother pushes her to be her best. She never gives up on her daughter even when Ni kan wishes that she would. She tries so hard to make Ni kan into some sort of prodigy, wheather it is a Chinese Shirley Temple, or a piano star. On the other hand, Ni kan tries as hard as she can to not be what her mother wants her to be. She tries to be lazy and do bad on her mothers tests. It is one stong willed personalitiy against another, neither succeeds.
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How have the Mother's earlier expiriences shaped her ambitions for her daughter?

After losing everything that she had, the mother looked at America as a place where anything is possible. She did not look back on her past years with regret because she had promise for the future that lie within her daughter. In her new life, she wanted to live it to the fullest and not have any regrets. Her old life was gone and now she had Ni kan to pour all of her energy into.
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