Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Mark McIntosh and Taylor Wilkinson 8/24/12


This story takes place in San Fancisco's Chinatown.
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Jing-mei and her mother are the main characters.
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Jing-Mei's mother believed that she could be anything she wanted to be. She pushed her to do things that she wasn't interested in, because her mother wanted Jing-Mei to be a child prodigy. Her mother put her in piano classes taught by Mr. Chong, their neighbor from the first floor. As time goes by, Jing-Mei finds herself less and less interested in piano. Her mother kept making her go to piano lessons until she had a show to perform. Jing-Mei's performance started out ok, then she started to miss notes, and ruined her show. Thinking she would be done playing piano forever, her mother tried to get Jing-Mei to keep going to the lessons. Jing-Mei refuses to go, so they get into a big argument and as soon as Jing-Mei brought up her mothers babies that died, the mother was silent. So Jing-Mei and her mother go on over the years not saying a word about the debacle. After some years, her mother wanted to give Jing-Mei the piano as a sign of forgiveness.
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Internal Conflict

Jing-Mei does not want to become a child prodigy, and she knows that she's only good at being herself.
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External Conflict

She gets into a fight with her mom, because she did not want to play the piano anymore when her mom wanted her to keep playing.


Its okay with just being good at being yourself. Also do what makes you happy.


One example of symbolism is when Jing-Mei's mom gave her the piano years later that was considered foregivness. Also the song symbolises Jing-Mei's life.

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?

When she first looked in the mirror she said she saw a sad, ugly girl. She saw an ordinary face and realized thats all she will be. This relates to the title because her mom wants her to be a prodigy and she just wants to be a normal girl.

What went wrong in the relationship between mother and daughter?

Jing-Mei's mother only wanted her to be the next Shirley Temple. She pushed her into things she didnt want to do and things that she didnt have a interest in. After Jing-Mei's recital her mother expected her to keep playing the piano. They got into a big arguement and when Jing-Mei brought her babies that had died she was silent and never spoke of playing piano again.

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

Jing-Mei's mother believed you could do anything in America. She moved to the U.S. for a new beginning, so that's why she thought she could make Jing-Mei a child prodigy.