Structure

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Middle 

The middle part of the story begins with Jing-mei’s mother’s attempts to turn her into a successful child actress. 

The tension points of the story involve Jing-mei failing at something her mother makes her do, and her mother’s resulting disappointment. Jing-mei’s repeated failures increase her internal conflict: “And after seeing, once again, my mother’s disappointed face, something inside me began to die.” (p. 2, ll. 29-30). This internal conflict is expressed by Jing-mei attempting to scratch out the face in the mirror, where she sees herself as sad and ugly (p. 2, ll. 31-36). The story reaches a point of no return when Jing-mei decides she will not allow herself to become what her mother wanted her to be: “I won’t let her change me, I promised myself. I won’t be what I’m not.” (p. 2, ll. 44-45).

From then on, there is an external conflict between Jing-mei and her mother every time her mother makes her do something, such as when her mother signs her up for piano lessons (p. 4, ll. 40-50). The tension rises significantly in the lead…

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