Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Malik Abdulgader and Austin krzeminski


The story is set in San Fransico Chinatown which is one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia. With its facisnating mix of culture, religion, shops, and businesses. It was founded by Chinese immigrants who came during the Gold Rush of 1849. 


Jing-mei and her mother are always arguing because her mother wants her to be a prodigy but she does not want to be what her mother expects.


In the exposition it talks about what her mother believes. She believes that you can do anything you want in America including being a prodigy. When we get to the rising action the mother has Jing-mei try different things but she fails at all of them. Then she has her try the piano and get her a piano teacher. Then after awhile of practicing with this teacher she still wasn`t any good because the teacher was deaf so she could get away with mistakes but her mother didn`t know this and put her in a talent show and invited everyone she knows. At the climax Jing-mei failed at her talent show and her mother was very dissapointed. Then when they got home her mother was silent and she didn`t do anything to Jing-mei. Then when the time for the next piano lesson came her mother wanted her to go practice, but Jing-mei said no and then her and her mom got in a huge fight. In the Resolution Jing-mei`s mother gave her the piano later in life when she was older. Jing-mei left the piano at her mothers house and had someone sent to repair it. Her mother died a few months later then she tried to play it again and some what remembered how to play some of the songs but then she tried to play a new one and she did pretty good and realized that there were two halves to the same song. 

Internal conflict

Jing-mei has trouble decinding if she wants to be a prodigy and listen to her mother or just not do anything. She also wants to try and figure out what she wants to be. This causes her to change alot throughout the story. At the begining of the story she is going along with her mother and then she starts to contravene against her mothers ideas.

External conflict

The external conflict is obvious. It is between Jing-mei and her mother. Her mother is always forcing her to do things that she doesn`t want to so her and her mother always get into aurguments. Jing-mei`s mother says that she isn`t trying hard enough and Jing-mei says that she doesn`t want to do it.


One of the themes in "The Two Kinds" is that sometimes parents are controlling. This is true because in the story Jing-mei`s mother always wants her to be a prodigy at something that she isn`t good at. This causes tension between Jing-mei and her mother. An example of this is that she wants her to be the chinese Shirley Temple which isn`t going to happen.


The piano symbolizes the relationship between Jing-mei and her mother. It isn`t eyecandy from the outside but on the inside it is work of beauty.

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?

She sees her true self. She realizes that what she wants to be what ever she wants to be. She is done listening to her mother. She wants to be a prodigy at being herself It realates to the title because there are basically two sides to her, the side that she wants to be and the side that her mother wants her to be.

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

The daughter started to cross the boundaries by disrespecting the mom and not listening to her. The mother is at fault to because she is pushing her daughter really hard at something that is extremely difficult. It isn`t everyday that you find a prodigy and you can`t really just become one. What I think really caused tension between them is when her daughter failed at the talent show and her mother was very dissapointed, but then the daughter went to far when she made reference to the other childeren that her mother had lost. 

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

They shape the mother because the mother understands what it is like to lose everything and to have nothing so when she came to America with her daughter she saw this as an opportunity to give her daughter something better then what she had. Thats why she pushed her daughter so much because she just wanted something better for her daughter.