Jing-mei’s mother is a Chinese immigrant who settles in San Francisco, USA, in 1949, having lost her home and family in China. She works as a cleaning woman and, together with Jing-mei’s father, she manages to save enough money to buy a secondhand piano for her daughter to practice. She dies some time after Jing-mei’s 30th birthday.
Jing-mei’s mother is an ambitious woman, who has high hopes and dreams for a better life. Despite having lost her home and family in China, Jing-mei’s mother does not look back in regret, but forward in hope that things would get better. She believes that “you could be anything you wanted to be in America” (p. 1, ll. 1-2). However, she does not attempt something herself, and projects her hopes and dreams of success on her daughter: “ ‘Of course, you can be a prodigy’ ” (p. 1, l. 6), and attempts to make ...