Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Grant Patterson 8/24/12

Setting

The setting takes place in San Fransisco, California in China Town.
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Chracters

A young girl named Jing-Mei and her mother, a Chinese immigrant, fight with each other throughout the story about Jing-Mei's future. Her mother wants her to be a prodigy at the piano, but Jing-Mei doesn't want to play the piano.
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Plot

The story starts with a young girl named Jing-mei and her mother, a chinese immigrant. Her mother wants her daughter to be a prodigy in something, but she doesn't care what she becomes a prodigy in. Jing-mei tries a couple of things, but isn't very good at them. Then her mother gets her to try the piano. At first, Jing-mei isn't that bad at the piano, so she sticks with it. Over time Jing-mei's mom keeps pushing her to be a prodigy, but Jing-mei doesn't want to play any more. When Jing-mei's mother puts her in a talents contest to play the piano. When Jing-mei goes an stage she is confident and excited to play. When she starts playing she realizes she has missed a couple of notes and from there she plays worst. When she finishes she looks to the crowd and she sees her parents and they are completely shocked about her performance. When they get back to their house they get in a big fight and Jing-mei says something that really make her mother sad. After that fight, her mom just gives up on her. Later when Jing-mei is older and moves out, her mom apologizes for when she was young and tries to give her the old piano that she used to play, for her birthday, but Jing-mei doesn't take it. When her mother passes away later in the story, Jing-mei decides to get her piano restored in tribute to her mother.
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Inertnal Conflict

Jing-mei wants to tell her mother that she doesn't want to play the piano anymore, and that she wants to live her life the way she wants to. But she is to afraid of her mother.
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External Conflict

Jing-mei's mom forces her to play the piano, but Jing-mei doesn't think she has any talent so she doesn't put any effort into playing the piano. So all this time her mother thinks she is working hard and going to be a prodigy, but as it turns out Jing-mei is bad at the piano.
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Theme

One theme in "Two Kinds" is that relationships can be good or bad. At the beginning of this story Jing-Mei and her mother do not have a good relationship. Jing-mei doesn't want to listen to her mom and her mom doesn't except that. When Jing-mei gets older and she moves out, her relationship with her mother gets better, and they eventually make up and have a good relationship.
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Symbolism

A symbol in this story would be the piano. Because it's the piano that makes Jing-mei and her mother fight. Jing-mei doesn't want to play it, but her mother keeps forcing her to play and be a prodigy.
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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?

When she looks in the mirror at first she shes a weak, sad, ugly girl. When she looks again, she sees herself as angry and powerful. They are both her. Its thematic significance is that she is both people. During most of the story she is small and weak, but when she fights with her mother she become mean and angry. It relates to the title because the title is "Two Kinds" and during the story she becomes two different people.
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Two strong-willed characters are pitted against each other in this story. What went wrong in the relationship between mother and daughter?

Jing-mei and her mother have two completely veiws on what she wants to do. Jing-mei wants to have fun and not take anything really seriously, while her mom wants her to be extremely sucessful and a prodigy at the piano. And when they express their ways with each other they fight and it becomes ugly.
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Read carefully the parts dealing with the mother’s earlier life in China. How have her earlier experiences shaped her ambitions for her daughter?

When her mother lived in China, she had two kids who died during birth. So when Jing-mei was born her mother wanted her to be sucsessful and healthy and doesn't want anything bad for her. She only wants the best for Jing-mei.
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