The Joy Luck Club Chapter 8, Jing-mei Woo, Two Kinds
When June was growing up, Suyuan believed that June could be anything she wanted to be, and was determined that June be a genius of some kind. At first Suyuan wanted her to be a Shirley Temple, but she didn't have the right kind of hair. June felt excited but pressured at the idea of being a great success. Her mother was constantly giving her "tests" to find out what kind of genius she was. After a while, June decided to rebel. "I had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lots of won'ts. I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not." Chapter 8, pg. 134 She stopped trying to succeed. Her mother began to give up. Then one night, she saw a young Chinese girl playing piano on TV, and decided June could be that girl. She found an old man in their apartment building who was a retired piano teacher. June quickly discovered that he was deaf, and began to fake the right notes. She stopped practicing, and her teacher never noticed. Meanwhile, her mother bragged to Lindo Jong that June was a natural talent. This angered June. "I was determined to put a stop to her foolish pride." Chapter 8, pg. 138 When June was asked to play in a talent show, she never really even learned the song. She never thought about what it would be like once she got onstage, and as she began to play in front of the audience, she could not stop making mistakes. Afterward, Suyuan looked shocked, and Lindo and Waverly seemed smug. June felt terrible. She assumed she didn't have to practice anymore, and when her mother tried to force her, she screamed. Her mother yelled back, "Only two kind of daughters. Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!" Chapter 8, pg. 142 June screamed back that she wished she was dead, like her mother's other daughters. Her mother backed out of the room, shocked. Today, June remembers that she failed her mother many times. But a few years ago, when June was thirty, her mother offered her the piano. She hadn't played since her recital. She took it as a sign of forgiveness from her mother. Now that her mother is dead, June goes to her parents' house to organize things. She plays a song that she played at her recital, "Pleading Child." She remembers it well. Then she plays the song on the opposite page, "Perfectly Contented." She realizes that they are two halves of the same song.