Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Mark Nutt 8/28/12


The setting of the story takes place in Chinatown, San Francisco.


Jing-mei is the main character in Two Kinds. Her mother wants her child to be a prodigy and known for something so bad, she almost lets her obsession take her over. Waverly Jong is Jing-meis cousin; she has a great talent in chess and she brags about it. Mr. Chong is the final important character in the story, being the blind piano teacher who teaches Jing-mei how to play.

Plot Summary

The mother of Jing-mei strongly believes with enough effort and practice that you can be anything you want, especially in america. Jing-mei at the start of the story likes the idea. She likes to try to make herself look good. However after many unsatisfactory tests to find her talent, she starts to rebel. She deliberatly shows signs of not caring, so she will not hurt her mothers feelings directly. However after the talent show, and the mother still wanting Jing-mei to play the piano, she outrages and shows she does not want to. She then finds out that she did not need to hurt her mother who was only trying to help.

Internal Conflict

During the story, Jing-mei faces the internal conflict of whether to give up or not. At the start she stays patient and looks forward to finding her talent, however as time goes on, she starts to give up and not care.

External Conflict

The external conflict of the story is between Jing-mei and her mother. Jing-mei believes she cannot achieve anything, but her mother strongly believes that she can. Her mother always says she just isn't trying. The conflict gets to a point where Jing-mei is rebelling from her mother and stating she wouldn't want to live with her if she had to continue this.


The theme of the story is that if you want to accomplish something in life, there is a road to it. You must practice & build up on your skills to reach your goals.


An example of symbolism is the piano piece that Jng-mei played at the talent show. It was named Pleading Child & Perfect Contented. This represented how she was following her mother at the beginning of the story and trusting in her, but then rebelling and going her own way.

Looking into the Mirror

When Jing-mei looks into the mirror, she sees two faces. A sad, child who can achieve nothing in life, and a successful, prodigy who is happy.

Mother-Daughter Relationship

What went wrong between both the mother and the daughter is that the mother believed her daughter could do anything a little too much. She seemed to let her dream of a prodigy perfect child overtake her and barraged Jing-mei with tests to find her strength.

How the Mother's life Shaped Her

The mother believed that Jing-mei could be doing more with her life and being more successful to bring a good name to the family.