Literary Devices in "Two Kinds"

By Jordan Bliese and Nyla Johnson


The setting of "Two Kinds" is in Chrinatown, Downtown San Fransisco. There are times where the story moves to Mr. Chongs apartment and a preformance hall.


The main characters are Jing Mae and her mother, Sauyan Woo. Other supporting characters incluse Jing Mae's aunt, and her daughter, Waverley. There is also Mr. Chong, the deaf piano teacher and his wife, referenced as Lady Chong.


In Two Kinds, Sauyan tries to force her daughter into being a prodigy of some kind. They watch Shirley Temple movies. As her mother pushes and pushes Jing becomes more and more resistant. They finally settle on piano lessons with deaf Mr. Chong. Jing Mae believe this is an advantage for her laziness but a disadvantage later when she has to preform. While preforming, she gets entirely distracted by how good she looks in her new clothes that she hits wrong note after wrong note. Her mother is so devistated that she does not ackowledge Jing untill the next day. At the end of the story, the mother and daughter have a rather large fight and there is an empty period of 30 years.

Internal Conflict

The internal conflict for Jing Mae is that she really needs for herself to be whoshe wants to be but with her mother toying with her priorities, she can't.

External Conflict

An external conflict that Jing Mae has to face is that her and mother at so at odds that they are almost fighting over the house.


A theme that could be applied to Two Kinds is that resisting your parents' guidance is not always a good thing. Though it may not seems that they care what you think, they are always looking at for your best interests.


Symbolism can be found all throughout the story, such as at the conclusion of the story when Jing Mae sits and plays at the piano showing that she actually cared about what her mother thought of her and that she actually did care about what her mother wanted.

Thematic Symbolism

When Jing Mae sees herself in the mirror, she sees herself, but in an entirely new light. This has significance because she realizes that she sees some of what her mother sees in her. It can tie back into the title because there are two kinds of personalities in her, the side that wants to rebel and idsobey, and the side that whats to listen and be the best she can be.

What Went Wrong?

Well, a lot of things. The daughter wants to be her own person and the mother wants to force her into a mold of a child tha she doesn't fit into. This leads to more than one clashings between the two.

Shaping Mother

When Sauyan lived in China, she had given birth to three children besides Jing Mae and had lost them. She was so determined to get to America to give Jing Mae a good life that she forgot what was important, asking what her daughter wanted. This leads to the main conflicts in the story and to the ultimate disappointment of both the mother and daughter.