How does point of view impact the plot of the story "Two Kinds"? Give an example.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story “Two Kinds” is from the daughter’s point of view.  If it was from the mother’s point of view, it would be quite different.

First of all, if “Two Kinds” was from the mother’s point of view, we would have a better understanding of why she pushed her daughter so hard.  Jing-mei’s mother, Mrs. Woo, is a Chinese immigrant.  She has struggled in her life, and is trying to help her daughter to successful and have the opportunities she didn’t.  There is some indication of this in how Jing-mei understands her mother.

My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America. You could open a restaurant. You could work for the government and get good retirement. You could buy a house with almost no money down.

Jing-mei is telling this from her point of view as daughter, and she does not really understand why this is so important to her mother.  If her mother was telling the story, we might better understand her hopes and fears for her daughter.

When Jing-mei tells her mother she wishes she was not her daughter, her mother’s reaction probably would have been real sadness.  When she yells at her daughter, it is out of frustration, but she probably regrets it.

When Jing-mei sees her mother beginning to get very angry, she intentionally tries to hurt her.

And that's when I remembered the babies she had lost in China, the ones we never talked about. "Then I wish I'd never been born!" I shouted. "I wish I were dead! Like them." 

This is a terrible thing to say. Her mother walks away.  We can imagine that her mother is thinking that she can’t believe her daughter would be so ungrateful and so hurtful, and feeling that she really does not get it.  Her mother just wants her to have what the others did not.

ilykidd | Student

Without a point of view, the plot is nonexistent. Point of view impacts every sector of the plot. The plot is determined on what and especially HOW the story is noticed, visualized, and captured. Rather the story is told through first, second or third person, you will always be aware of a specific tone or mood of the story, since each and every standpoint has a different eye. 


For example, let's say parents are grounding a child, and they know the very reason for why the child should be 'punished'. Father and mother may consensually have the same belief that their decision of punish was valid, but both may reason out such principles and rules to the child differently. It's nature. We're not robots. Dad will say: your curfew is 10 pm, you came back home at 2, go to your room. You can't can't hang out with friends for a week. Mom proclaims: we trust you but we don't trust others, especially at that time of the night. Focus on your schooling this week and nothing more. 

One point of view is more statistical, and trying to finish the job, whereas the other view is a bit more sympathetic simultaneously firm to the young one. 


pencilman | Student

Point of view helps to set the tone of the story, how characters in the story would be viewed.

Take for example the story of 'the three little pigs'. It is written from the point of view of the three little pigs and hence the wolf is seen as the Big Bad Wolf, the one eating up little innocent pigs. However in another story, where the same story was written from the point of view of the wolf, a lot of things went through a 180 degree change, one could even empathize with the wolf, understanding how the wolf was merely doing the most logical thing given the situation.

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Two Kinds

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