Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Andrew Pretorius August 27, 2012


The setting takes place in a San Francisco Chinatown. This is the placed they moved to from China.


Jing-mei: Throughout her early life, her mother pushes her to become the best. Her mom tests her and makes her play instruments. Finally at one stage she says no more and rebels against her mother. The result was temtion between her and her mother for most of their lives.Jing-mei's mother: Suffering the loss of her family in China, Jing-mei's mother pushes jing-mei to be the best and become famous. She wanted it so bad that she tested Jing-mei day after day. The result of the pushing was tension for most of their lives. Old chong: Old Chong is a retired piano teacher because of one reason; he was deaf. Jing-mei's mother signed her up for piano lessons with a old chong so she could become a prodigy. It did not work due to the fact that Jing-mei took advantage of her teacher being deaf and did not try to become a better pianist


Exposition: The mother keeps telling Jing-mei that she will become a prodigy. She starts to test her vigerously. Rising Action: The Mother pushes Jing-mei to play piano. jing-mei starts to take lessons but makes no progress over a year. She then preforms in a talent show and preforms horribly. Climax: Jing-mei and her mother fight. Falling action: Tention remains for years and years between mother and daughter. Resolution: The mother gives Jing-mei her piano and they become closer befor her mother dies. Jing-mei relizes that her mother only wanted the best for her

Internal Conflict

Jing-mei did not want to be a prodigy. She didn't want to be special. She only wanted a normal life. As her mother pushed her to be the best, her inside were screaming no, but her reaction was acceptance.

External conflict

As Jing-mei's life continues, her mother continues to push her hard. Jing-mei begins to rebel at this point and says no. the result was that her and her mother was at tension for the majority of their lives.


The theme of "Two Kinds" relates to intentions. Throughout Jing-mei's life, her mother pushes her to be the best. She has good intentions behind her actions. She only wants the best for her daughter.


The piano represents the hope that the mother has for her child. It shows how she puts her effort and money into her daughter that she loves and cares about.

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?

In the mirror, she sees an angry girl, the prodigy side of her. She relizes she doesn't want to be that girl. She just wants to have a normal life. This crushes her mothers good intensions. It related to the title because it show two kinds to her.

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

The mother pushed the daughter too hard. She had good intetions behind her actions, but it became all about herself. She wanted the best for her child, but Jing-mei didn't want to be a prodigy.

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

Her mother lost everything in China. Her father, husband and twin daughters. She lost her home and after all that, she came to America for a new start. Because of these experiences, she has built the ambitions for her daughter: To have a better life than hers.