Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Natasha Santosa, August 24, 2012


The setting of this story is set in San Francisco, California. Mainly in Chinatown.
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The main characters in this story is Amy Tan and her mother. Tan's mother is a chinese immigrant hoping for her child to be like Shirly Temple.


Exposition: Ni Kans mother came to San Francisco in 1949 after losing her parents, her home, her husband, and her twin baby girls. Ni Kan and her mother would watch Shirley Temple, and the mother hoped that Ni Kan would be like Shirley one day. Rising Action: So Ni Kans mother took her into a beauty training school in the Mission District and got her a haircut. Then her mom put her in piano lessons with a deaf teacher named Mr. Chong. Ni Kan would often take advantage of Mr. Chong and keep messing up, he obviously couldnt hear her mistakes because hes deaf. She had a piano rehearsal and messed up a lot and she felt disapointed. Climax: She came home and expected her mom to yell at her about the terrible rehearsal she had but her mom didnt yell at her at all. Then her mom told her to practice and Ni Kan said no, and they got into an argument about how Ni Kans mom wants Ni Kan to be someone shes not, Ni Kan also said mean things to her mom like "I wish I werent your daughter, and I wish you werent my mother!" "I wish Id never been born, I wish I were dead like them!" Resolution: They never talked about the rehearsal incident or the fight for years. Ni Kans mom stopped the lessons and doesnt even mention piano anymore. And for Ni Kans 30th birthday her mother surprised her by offering her to give her the piano. Then her mom died and she tried to play the piano again and was shocked she still remembers how to play.

Internal Conflict

An example of internal conflict is when the mother thinks her daughter can be like Shirley Temple and that she can do anything she sets her to do.
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External Conflict

An example of an external conflict is when Ni Kan tries to play piano but shes not really good at it, and when her mother keeps pushing her into playing piano and Ni Kan just explodes and gets into an argument with her mother about how Ni Kan does not want to play the piano. (Arguement after the piano recital)
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The message of this story is that you should respect your parents because theyll always push you and want you to be the best and you should try and listen to them and not rebel.
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At the end the Piano represented forgiveness and also a second chance because Ni Kan started to play again a little bit.
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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 was excited and she pictured that the prodigy can be anything she wants it to be like a ballerina, or Cinderella. Its an important aspect because she decided what she wanted not her mom. But it turns out her mom plans out her future for her. To be a piano prodigy even though she wanted to be something else. I think the title "two kinds" shows and means that theyre two different person and that you should decide your future for yourself and not have others tell you who and what you should be, because its your future and your decision.

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

What went wrong was that the mother didnt listen to her daughters opinion on what she wanted to be. Her mom basically made the decision for her daughter and her daughter just went along with it and didnt suceed because its not what she wanted and she does not have a passion for it. They didnt communicate enough and talked about what Ni Kan wanted and what they would both agree. So basically Ni Kans mom wasted her time with the piano lessons because Ni Kan didnt have a passion for it.
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