Literary Devices Found in Two Kinds

Gabi Hueso and Angie Callen 8/24/12


The setting of the story is in San Francisco, California. In China Town. It took place in 1949.


The main character's name is Ni Kan. She is a young chinese girl that moved from China to America. Another character in the story is Ni Kan's mother. She has very high expectations for Ni Kan and is very strict. Another character is Ni Kan's piano instructor named Mr.Chong. He is very old and deaf.


The plot of Two Kinds is a mother moving to America so her daughter can have a good life and can have a succesful daughter. In the beginning of the story, the mother tells Ni Kan that she is going to be the next chinese shirley temple. She took her to the beauty school which changed her whole appereance. She expected Ni Kan to be a genious and a prodigy. Her mom would quiz her on math, predicting weather, and knowing capitals. If Ni Kan didn't know something, her mom would be very upset and sad. No matter what she would try to do she could never be good at anything. Eventually she got mad at herself and decided to give up. She felt she had power when she was mad. The next day her mom saw The Sullivan Show and on it was a little Chinese girl playing piano. Her mom wanted Ni Kan to be a young prodigy piano player and made her start taking lessons. When she went to the piano lessons, she found that her teacher was deaf and couldn't hear when she messed up on a note. So she didnt have to try while she was practicing. Her mom was bragging to her family about how her daughter was so good at piano. One day she had a performance and her mom invited all of there family. Ni Kan felt great in her dress and walked up to the stage with confidence. When she started to play she hit a wrong note and another and kept going downhill from there. When she was done the crowd awkwardly clapped. Ni Kan's mother was so disappointed and didn't say anything to her for the rest of the day. Since Ni Kan messed up so bad at her performance she thought she wouldnt have to play ever again, but she was wrong. The next afternoon while she was watching TV, her mom barged in and made her practice again. She dragged Ni Kan to the piano and that's when she snapped at her. She said she wished she was never born like the kids her Mom lost in China. She felt even more powerful now and her Mom was hurt. After this incident, Ni Kan and her Mom didn't talk once about the Piano or her becoming a prodigy. Her mother called her years later after she moved to ask if she wanted the piano and Ni Kan said no. Later her mom died and when she was cleaning out her appartment she decided to play the piano. She enjoyed playing it and thought of the piano as a trophy and a symbol of forgiveness.


Ni Kan was internally conflicted because she was being pushed into something she didn't want to do. She felt like she was never good enough for her mom and that her mom always wanted her to be something she's not.


The external conflict was between Ni Kan and her mother. They were always fighting over how her daughter was unsuccessful at everything she tried to do. Her mother was always pushing her to be famous and she could never become what her mom wanted her to be.


One shouldn't push someone into being something that they aren't. Be yourself and try your hardest.


The piano is an item that represents symbolism in this story. In the end her mother offered the piano to Ni Kan and Ni Kan thought of it as a trophy of forgiveness and understanding. Her mother wasnt mad anymore that she never became a prodigy piano player and still loved her just as she was.


1. In the first scene, Ni Kan looked at herself in the mirror and saw that it was just her ordinary face and realized that that was always what she was going to be. She cried and got very angry, then she felt that she had power. This represent the name of the story because Ni Kan has two kinds of herself; the one that is powerful and the one that doesn't try. 2. The relationship between Ni Kan and her mother went bad because her mother pushed her way to hard and Ni Kan snapped.3. After her mother moved to America she thinks that there are so many oppurtunitys, unlike China. She thinks that Ni Kan can be perfect becuase she has the chance to be. She doesnt want Ni Kan to be ordinary and she is her only daughter she has any hope for since she lost her other kids.