come Jing-mei"s mother, America is the soil of Opportunity. She has actually high wishes that her daughter will be a an excellent success together a prodigy. She"s not specifically sure whereby her daughter"s talent lie, however she is certain that her daughter possesses good ability — it is simply a issue of detect the best avenue because that Jing-mei"s talents. First, Mrs. Woo tries come mold she daughter right into a boy actress, however that doesn"t work. Then she tries intellectual tests clipped from famous magazines. Jing-mei doesn"t display promise in this area, either. Finally, Mrs. Woo access time upon the answer: Jing-mei will be a piano virtuoso.

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Mrs. Woo trades housecleaning solutions for Jing-mei"s piano lessons indigenous Mr. Chong, an elderly piano teacher, who is deaf and also whose eyes are too weak to tell as soon as Jing-mei is playing the not correct notes. Mr. Chong"s efforts are therefore sincere the Jing-mei picks up the basics, however she is so identified not to cooperate the she plays an extremely badly.

One day, the Woos meet Lindo Jong and her daughter Waverly. Mrs. Jong brags around Waverly"s success as a chess prodigy. No to it is in outdone, Jing-mei"s mommy brags about her daughter"s "natural pride," and the young girl instantly becomes even an ext determined than ever before to thwart she mother"s ambitions.

Continuing to clean houses, Mrs. Woo scrapes together sufficient money to buy a secondhand piano. A few weeks later, Jing-mei participates in a talent display in a church hall. All the couples from the joy Luck Club pertained to her piano debut. Back she has not practiced and also does not know the music, Jing-mei has actually come to believe that she is undoubtedly a prodigy. Halfway through the song, though, she starts to realize exactly how badly she is playing. The weak applause and her parents" disappointed looks disclose the unmistakable truth: Jing-mei is no a music prodigy.

As a result, Jing-mei is shocked when her mother expects she to continue practicing. Throughout the occurring quarrel, Jing-mei shouts the most hateful thing she deserve to summon: "I wish I"d never ever been born! i wish ns were dead! choose them!" at the cite of the pair daughters in China the she was required to abandon year ago, Mrs. Woo all of sudden retreats and also never mentions the piano again. As a result, Jing-mei is shocked once her mother offers she the piano together a thirtieth date of birth present. Just after her mother"s death can Jing-mei accept the piano. Together she is packing her mother"s things, she sits under to beat the piano because that the first time in numerous years.

The story concentrates on 2 themes: the American Dream and the tension between mothers and also daughters. Like plenty of immigrants, Mrs. Woo to trust in America"s promise: With hard work and a small luck, Jing-mei have the right to be anything that she choose to be. Jing-mei will not need to undergo any kind of of she mother"s hardships — the terror and privations the war, the tragedy of losing children, and also the challenges of settling in a brand-new culture. That is not enough that Jing-mei be merely successful, however. V her mother"s guidance, Jing-mei deserve to be a prodigy, towering over ordinary children. Prodigies, however, room born with an inherent talent that manifests itself under the proper guidance, as has Waverly Jong"s chess genius. To discover the fallacy that Mrs. Woo"s reasoning, all we have to do is comparison Waverly"s immediate fascination through chess come Jing-mei"s refusal to exercise the piano. Furthermore, Waverly receives only a few chess pointers from one old man in the park prior to she starts winning tournaments; in contrast, Jing-mei is given substantial (if inept (personal tutoring, however she still plays badly in the talent contest.

In addition, Jing-mei has actually no desire come cooperate through her mother. Top top the contrary, she fights she every action of the way. "I didn"t have to do what my mom said anymore. I wasn"t her slave. This wasn"t China. I had listened to her before and also look what happened. She to be the stupid one," she decides. Figured out to thwart her mother"s ambitions, Jing-mei neglects practicing the piano.

It is only after her mother"s fatality that Jing-mei starts to establish what her mother had wanted for her. She looks ago over the music the she formerly shunned and discovers something that she hadn"t i found it before. The track on the left-hand side of the page is referred to as "Pleading Child"; the one top top the right, "Perfectly Contented." Suddenly, Jing-mei realizes the the two titles are two halves that the exact same song. This realization brings together the design template of the tension between mothers and daughters. The mothers and also daughters in this publication are be separated by numerous factors — age, experience, ambition, and culture. The "pleading child" cannot be "perfectly contented" due to the fact that she cannot resolve her obstacles with her mom — and also herself. In her battle with her mother, she is struggling with her own identity. That is Jing-mei? Chinese? American? Some mix of the two? She feels the she must disapprove her mommy in bespeak to discover herself. Yet in law so, she is rejecting her heritage and also her identity. This publication explores the various methods that mothers and also daughters relate come each various other as the daughters room struggling to forge their own place in the world.

As such, the theme of this story quickly transcends the immigrant experience. Children from countless cultures and also backgrounds steadfastly refuse to think in your parents" dreams for their future. Whether their parents are on-track or misguided, many youngsters cannot see the worth of applying themselves to a goal, practicing a skill, and also cooperating v others" plans. In she refusal come accede to she mother"s wishes, Jing-mei i do not care cruel. She strikes ago at her mother with the strongest weapon she have the right to muster — verbally recall her mommy of the central tragedy of she life. And also Jing-mei wins the argument — or go she?

Tan also explores the impact of popular society on the immigrant. Mrs. Woo it s okay her concepts from television and popular magazines. She walk not inquiry the validity of this sources. The magazines range from the bizarre — Ripley"s believe It or not — to the popular — an excellent Housekeeping and Reader"s Digest. Whatever has to be predigested because that mass consumption.

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Glossary

Shirley Temple a well known child actress. Born in 1928, she made her film debut at period three in was standing Up and also Cheer. Admired for her mop of blond ringlets, her coy, flirtatious pizazz, and her affected, plucky singing and also dancing, she came to be one of the many famous and popular that all son stars in the 30s. Amongst her best-loved movies are tiny Miss mite (1934), The small Colonel (1935), Heidi (1937), and Rebecca the Sunnybrook farm (1938). She continued to show up in films through her teenager years, and also after her second marriage, she became active in politics. ~ an not successful bid because that Congress in 1967, she served as a United nations delegate (1969-70). In 1974, she was named U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. Today, she offers the surname Shirley holy place Black.