The story that I have chosen is “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan

The story that I have chosen is “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan. This story is about a mother that have high expectations of her daughter, Jing Mei. She wants Jing Mei to be famous and success as a prodigy. During the journey, the mother did everything for Jing Mei but she rebels. When her mother died, Jing Mei realizes that everything that her mother did was for Jing Mei’s future. The literary devices in this short story are simile and metaphor. The literary elements are settings and themes.

First, literary devices that I had analysed is simile. It is a statement that demonstrates similarities between two people or things. It usually uses words “like” or “as”. Simile that I found in this short story is when Jing Mei compares her scream with non-human. Text evidence is, “I made-high pitched noises like crazed animal,”. Jing Mei demonstrates her scream and compares it with animal. She explains the sound of her scream and the author uses simile to enhance the explanation. She uses word “like” in the text evidence to show how Jing Mei scream in the bathroom sink. Next simile is during Jing Mei piano lesson. Text evidence is, “play some nonsense that sounded like a cat running up and down on top of garbage can”. It shows how terrible Jing Mei plays during the piano class. The author compares her play with sound of cat running on top of garbage can. It shows vivid image for the readers about the Jing Mei piano plays.
Second, metaphor is one of the literary devices that I had analysed in this short story. Metaphor is a figure of speech that implied comparison between two things that are unrelated, but which share some common characteristic. It is different than simile. Metaphor does not used “like” or “as”. Metaphor that I found in this short story is when Jing Mei says that her piano is a shiny trophy in her parents’ living room. Text evidence is, “it were shiny trophy that I had won back,”. The word shiny trophy refers to Jing Mei’s piano. The author compares Jing Mei’s piano with trophy as the evidence to show how proud Jing Mei is. It helps to describe that Jing Mei was proud of it. Next is Shirley, which is the first prodigy that the mother chose acted in the old movie. Text evidence, “Shirley’s eyes flooded with tears,”. The word flood describe the amount of tears that Shirley shows during her acting. The author uses the perfect word to show the amount of tears in Shirl’s eyes. It helps readers to imagine how Shirley’s eyes looks like.

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The literary elements that I found is settings. Setting helps to set the mood, time and place where the scene occurred in the story. It sometimes plays important role in the story. The first setting is at the kitchen. At the kitchen, Jing Mei is tested by her mother few question every night. Her mother got the question from magazines or stories that she read. Text evidence, “Every night after dinner my mother and I would sit at the Formica topped kitchen table. She would present new tests, taking her examples from stories of amazing children that she read in Ripley’s Believe or Not or Good Housekeeping, Reader’s digest, or any of a dozen magazines”. The author uses the kitchen as setting for the tests. Next is, the beauty training school at Mission District. This is the place that Jing Mei got her new haircut in order to look like Shirley Temple. Text evidence, “Soon after my mother got this idea about Shirley Temple, she took me to the beauty training school in the Mission District”. The author uses a place that really exist as the setting. It helps the readers to understand the story better and relate it with real life.
Themes is the next literary element that I had analysed in this story. Theme is the central focus of story. It express lesson, conclusion, message or point of view of the author. The theme of this short story is American dream. The mother wants Jing Mei to be a successful prodigy and she believes that everything can be achieved when you are in America. Text evidence is, “My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America” and “America was where all my mother’s hopes lay”. The author wants to show that America is the right place where people can achieve their dreams. It is the best platform to be what you want to. Next, mother being a dominant. Jing Mei’s mother controls her life. She decides everything for Jing Mei and picks what kind of prodigy Jing Mei could be. At first, she chose Shirley Temple. She believe that Jing Mei can be the Chinese Shirley Temple. Text evidence, “At first my mother thought I could be a Chinese Shirley Temple”. She did everything in order to make Jing Mei become the Chinese Shirley Temple. But then, she changed it to pianist. After watching Ed Sullivan show, where she was amazed with piano performance that was performed by a little Chinese girls. She thought Jing Mei can be a piano prodigy. Text evidence, “Three days after watching the Ed Sullivan show my mother told me what my schedule would be for piano lessons and piano practice”. Through this evidence, it shows that the mother played a role as a dominant character in Jing Mei’s life and this theme is fully proven.

As the conclusion, literary devices such as simile and metaphor then literary elements such as setting and themes are used by the author to give a clear image of what happen in Jing Mei’s life. It shows that Jing Mei’s mother have high expectation. She believes that her daughter can be like what she wants. In reality, every mother in this world wants her daughter to have a bright future and successful life. By using these literary devices and elements, the author successfully portrayed all of her ideas in this short story.


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