The title refers to Jing-Mei’s epiphany about mother-daughter relationships. Jing-Mei remembers two different songs, when in fact they are part of the same song. The song is a metaphor for childhood, because we are sometimes content and sometimes pleading, and childhood is about balance. Jing-Mei’s mother wants her to become a prodigy. She is more interested in accomplishment than fame. She attempts several television-inspired talents. None of them take. The result is just Jing-Mei and her mother’s frustration. They settle on the piano, but that’s a disaster too. Jing-Mei’s teacher is deaf and not really paying attention. She does not really learn how to play the piano. When the recital comes, she embarrasses herself by not really being able to play. Jing-Mei and her mother have a rocky relationship, and it comes to head over the whole prodigy thing. Jing-Mei’s mother wants her to do what she says, and Jing-Mei wants to be her own person.
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