Literary Devices in "Two Kinds"

Haley Bloomer August 27, 2012

Setting

The setting of this story is in California's Chinatown, in San Fransisco. This is one if the largest Chinese communities.
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Characters

The characters in this story are a Chinese mother and daughter. Ni Kan, the daughter, and her mother struggle with their relationship. The mother pushes her child to be something she is not. Her dream has been to come to America to make her daughter a prodigy of some sort.
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Plot

Exposition- In the beginning of the story the mother wanted her daughter to become a Chinese Shirley Temple. At first the Ni Kan would listen to her mother but was becoming bored.Rising Action-She started taking piano from a deaf man, which meant she could slack off.Climax-When her and her mother were humiliated at her piano show. Her mother didn't talk to her for weeks and was ashamed. Then Ni Kan refused to go to her lesson.Resolution- The mother gives her daughter the piano for her thirtieth birthday, and it was a sign of forgiveness. Then when her mother passed Ni Kan realized that she should be thankful for her mother's hard work.
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Internal Conflict

Ni Kan was struggling with many things internally. She was always being told she was doing something wrong. She never felt like she was good enough and she always thought she was making her mother ashamed of her.
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External Conflict

Ni Kan and her mother struggle with her wanting to be a piano prodigy. They soon have to give up fighting and battling and face the fact that she will never be a prodigy.
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Theme

The theme of this story is to be yourself no matter what. You should not pretend to be something your not.
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Sybolism

One of the main symbols in this story is the piano. Its what broke Ni Kan and her mother apart and got theme into so many fights. In the end of it all the piano plays a big role in her life as an adult
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8.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 Ni Kan looks in the mirror she sees a different side to herself, which relates to the title "Two Kinds". She sees a side of power to herself, a side that she likes, a different person almost. She saw her true anger show and she realizes she had not been herself for some time.
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9.Two strong-willed characters are pitted against each other in this story. What went wrong in the relationship between mother and daughter?

The mother and the daughter both have very strong personalities. The daughter takes a while to realize she can refuse her mothers wishes, and the mother would do anything for her daughter not to give up. The mother will push and push and push until the daughter does what she says and the daughter says no. So combining the two personalities it all ends up bad.
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10.Read carefully the parts dealing with the mother’s earlier life in China. How have her earlier experiences shaped her ambitions for her daughter? (cant touch this)

Ni Kan's mother has had a difficult life. She has lost a lot including children. So her only daughter she wants to make sure is perfect and she puts on a lot of pressure. I think her earlier life has shaped how she acts towards her daughter. She went through dramatic things and it has shaped her life forever.
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