Literary Devices in Two Kinds
Katherine Weeks 8/24/12
Within this story, there are a few major themes that are communicated.
1. Stand up for yourself.
2. Take pride in who you are.
3. Don't hold yourself to expectations that you cannot uphold, yourself.
One form of symbolism in this story is Jing-mei's piano. For the majority of this story, the piano has a negative connotation to Jing-mei. However, as the story comes to a close, the piano represents forgiveness from her mother. In addition it also was a symbol of Jing's mother's being proud of the woman she had become even though she had not excelled in one particular skill or area of knowledge as a child. The second form of symbolism in "Two Kinds" are the two songs that Jing-mei plays when she is given the piano from her childhood on her 30th birthday. These songs, "Pleading Child" and "Perfectly Contented" represent two halves of Jing-mei's life. One represents the "pleading child" she holds within. Jing-mei simply wanted to be accepted for who she was when she was young. She desperatly wanted to the pressure to be a prodigy to disappear. Now, she feels much more of that acceptance in her life, particularly from her mother. It is that feeling of relief, love, and forgiveness that makes her feel "perfectly contented" with her life, now. After playing these two seperatly titled songs, Jing-mei comes to the realization that these two songs are actually only two halves of one complete musical composition. This is very similar to how the peice symbolizes Jing-mei's life; the "Pleading Child" nor the "Perfectly Contented" peices within her life would not be complete without the other.