Literary Devices in "Two Kinds"

Maddy Spralls & Sonali Prabhu


In the short story "Two Kinds" the setting takes place in a Chinatown section of San Francisco, in 1949.


Jing-mei is the main character that fights with her mom because she wants to make her own choices in life.Ni Kan's mom is she forces her daughter to be a prodigy.Old Chong is the deaf piano teacher.Auntie Lindo is the mother's best friend who influences the mom to make her daughter a prodigy.Waverly is the mother's friend's daughter that is a prodigy and who Jing-mei is jealous of.


Exposition- They were watching Shirley Temple and her mom wanted her to be like a "chinese Shirley Temple" or a prodigy.Rising Action- Her mom tried everything to get her daughter to be the best she could be.Climax- When she was at her piano recital and she played all of the keys wrong, it made her realize that she was an never will be a prodigy.Falling Action-Jing-mei started to take control of her own life after her mom was forcing her to become a prodigy.Resolution- When her father gave her the piano after her mom died, she realized the piano was a representation of forgiveness and understanding.

Internal Conflict

The internal conflict was when she was getting agitated with her mom because she did not want to be what her mom wanted her to be, but she did not tell her mom.

External Conflict

The external conflict would be when she was made fun of after playing an awful song at her recital. This shows that she doesn't try hard enough to become a prodigy.


The bad relationship between a daughter and her mother who wants the american dream. Two other themes are fand free will & Identity Crisis.


The piano - forgiveness and understanding.The two songs "Pleading Child" and "Perfectly Content" - She realizes that they are two sides of the same song which represents her life.

8. 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?

In the first scene of the story "Two Kinds" when Jing-mei saw her reflection in the mirror she started to cry because she saw an ugly girl. She looked even closer to see the angry and powerful girl, the prodigy alter ego of herself. She didn't like seeing herself like that so she promised herself that she wouldn't let her mother change her.

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

First of all, opposites attract. The mother and daughter don't get along because they are the same person. They both have the best intensions for eachother but they also think they are always right. Her mother should not have forced her into something she didn't want to do. Everyone should make decisions for themselves so if something goes wrong only one person is hurt.

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

Since the mom was born in a different country, she doesn't understand how americans work. Jing-mei was brought up in america. The mom did not get all these opportunities that Jing-mei did so she is trying to live vicariously through her daughter. Which means she wants her daughter to be famous, and have good grades, and be a prodigy.