Literary Devices in "Two Kinds"

Katie St. Amand, Augest 24, 2012


The setting of the short story was made San Fransico's Chinatown, which is one of the largest Chinese communties outside of Asia.  It is a very busy and crowded place.


The narrator of the story is Ni kan. Her mother, who is a chinese immigrant, wants her american born daughter to become a prodigy. They have a rough relationship in the story because her mother pushes her to be someone she does not want to be.


Ni kan, the narrator of the story is a chinese american girl who struggles with her mother over her identity. As a child she would watch Shirly Temple movies and look at magazines of children that are successful. They even have the child get a makeover to become apart of prodigy. The mother pushes her to play the piano and to take lessons even when Ni kan does not want to.  Her mother thinks she has a musical talent but in reality Ni kan struggles while playing and her mother is unaware. Once her mother passes she begins to realize she should have taken more time into piano.

Internal Conflict

Throughout the story Ni kan struggles with being who she is. Her mother pushes her way too much and she thinks she is not good enough for her mother.

External Conflict

Ni kans mother worked her butt off to make Ni kan successful. Her daughter did not try to make her happy, in the end the mother realized that she should just give up and let her daughter do what she wants.


Be who you are, simple as that. Do not let anyone make you different. You are who you are and people should accept you as that.


The piano because that is what made them struggle and that is also what brought them together.

In this 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?

Towards the beginning of the story Ni kan looked in the mirror and saw her true anger show. This relates to the title because she is so nice to her mother bevause she does not want to upset her but inside it angers her. It shows that she has two different sides to her and that is why it is called two kinds.

What went wrong in the relationship between the mother and the daughter?

They were both wrong in the ways they tried to control the situations. Her mother tried to make her become a prodigy and the daughter wanted to rebel her mothers wishes.  The daughter wanted to be who she is and the mother did not like what she was, so the daughter never felt good enough for her.

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?

Her earlier experiences shaped her ambitions for her because she had a tough life, she lost everyone she was close to and she did not have all that she wanted. Her daughter is very blessed to have mother that cares for her and that can provide for her needs and that is mostly the reason why she wants her daughter to so ambitious. The mother wanted her daughter to be better than she was.