Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Cassidy Philo August-24-2012


The setting of the story was made in San Fransisco's China town, one of the largest communities outside of Asia. The neighborhood is busy and crowded with a variety of fascinating restuarants, buisnesses, shops and religious cultural institutions.  


Ni Kan, the narrator, struggles throughout the story with her mother, an immagrant from China who moved to America to make her daugher a prodigy.


Ni Kan's mother, i chinese immagrant, moved to America to make her daugher a prodigy. Her mother tries different scemes from making her into the chinese sherley temple, to making her into a talented Chinese piano player. Her mother came up with a variety of ideas to do, non of which ever made her daugher a prodigy. Her daugher felt as if her mother was making her into something she was not, and got so stressed out that she decided to rebel. Throughout the story Ni Kan and her mother struggle with they differences, fighting eachother to each get what they want. In the end Ni Kan learns that the piano was a big part in her life.

Internal Conflict

In the beginning of the story, Ni Kan fights with herself about not being good at anything but throughout the story she finds out who she is and who she doesn't want to be.

External Conflict

All throughout the story Ni Kan and her mother fight through their differences; Ni Kan did not want to be a prodigy but her mother worked as hard as she could to make her one. In the end they learned that they could not have their way.


The theme of the story is to be the best you can be even if you don't think you are that good.


One of the main symbols in the story is the piano. It is what broke Ni Kan and her mother apart but in the end Ni Kan learns what a big role it played in her life.

What does she see? What thematic significance could this scene have? How does it relate to the title?

Towards the beginning of the story, Ni Kan looks in the mirror and saw her true anger show. This is what made Ni Kan realize that she had not been her real self around her mom, but being what her mom wanted her to be.

What went wrong in the relationship between mother and daughter?

Both the mother and daughter wanted different things in their life. The mother wanted her daughter to be a prodigy in America and the daughter wanted to live her own life and have her mother be happy for who she is. When they both tried to mix those two things, bad things accured; her daughter rebelled, her mom shut off, and they both stopped talking.

How have the mother's earlier experiences shaped her ambitions for her daughter?

Ni Kan's mother lived a hard life when she was growing up, she lost everyone and everything she was close to and did not have everything she wanted. When her mother moved to America all she wanted was the best for her daughter and Ni Kan is very blessed to have a mother like that. It takes time for Ni Kan to realize those things.