Literary Devices in "Two Kinds"

Cady Kremer, August 24, 2012


The short story takes place in San Fransisco, Califorinia on a street called Sacramento in Chinatown. The story mostly took place in the narrators appartment, where she lived.


Jing-Mei lived with her mother and her father. She never got along with her mother because her mom always wanted her to be a prodigy. Jing-Mei was always yelling and fighting with her mom because she failed at everything, so there was alot of stress within the characters.


The theme of the story is the difficulty of this family and how the mother just wants a prodigy child but the daughter just cant seem to do anything well enough for her mother, so they fight alot. It shows how that when Jing-Mei gets older she started to understand and get alot with her mother more.
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The exposition is the beginning of the story so it is when Jing-Mei is being compared to prodagies like Shirley Temple by her mother, it leads up to the rising action which is when her mother gets her a piano to practise and signs her up for a recital. The climax is when she is at the recital and all excited, but when she starts to play she messes up A LOT, so her mom gets upset and doesnt talk to her. The falling action is when the mother and the daughter are barley talking and when the mother doesnt bring up Jing-Mei's failure anymore, and the resolution is when the mom gives the daughter the piano for her birthday and the daughter thinks thats really sweet.

Internal Conflict

The mother and daughter keep fighting, and the daughter never meets the moms standards. This brings a lot of fighing and conflict, they never get along because the daughter isnt good enough in the mothers eyes which is sad. Every time Jing-Mei tries something new, the mother thinks she fails.

External Conflict

The external conflict is that the daughter cant play the piano and the mom thinks she can because Jing-Mei has never played infront of her. The mom thinks that her daughter is doing an amazing job when she really isnt doing anything because her paino teacher is deaf.
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The piano symbolizes how the mother wishes the daughter could do something and be a prodigy, so it shows that the daughter needs to play it so she can please her mother and be a star, even though she fails at it, it still symbolizes how her mom just wants her to be good at something.

How the daughter sees herself.

In the beginning of the story, the daughter looked in a mirror and saw herself as a failure, she was bad at everything and could never please her mother, she was very upset with her life and herself. It relates to the title of the book because the daughter thinks there are 2 types of people, and she thinks she is the bad at everything type of person, not the type that is good at everything.
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What went wrong in the mother and daughers relationship?

There was alot that went wrong between the two, they just didnt get along because the mom was really mean to the daughter and thought she was bad at everything, so because the mother thought that, is completely ruined there relationship.
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The mother's early life in China.

I think the mothers life in China influenced the way she wants her daughter to be because she lost 2 of her children (twins) and now she just wants her daughter to be a prodigy, she came to america because it was the land of opportunity, so the mother was hoping that her daughter would be able to do EVERYTHING she wants.