Jing-Mei’s mother wanted the best for her; she had very high hopes for her. Jing-Mei’s mother wanted the “perfect child”. She may have wanted this “prodigy child,” due to sibling rivalry. As the story begins, the stench of ongoing competition is made apparent when Jing-Mei’s mother snorts, “What does Auntie Lindo Know” (2)? There is an unspoken, but well known big sister little sister, love-hate relationship; which ironically, is very similar to the struggles that mothers and daughters experience.
Younger children may look up to their older siblings and try to emulate them. And this is important since older children tend to influence the actions and behavior of younger siblings. Sibling rivalry or childhood conflict teaches us how to relate to others. If we're struggling with adult sibling rivalry, our experiences can change how we communicate with our partner or our children. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen,’ Adult Sibling Rivalry - How It Starts- Fighting With Your Grown Brothers and Sisters”, Time Magazine, July 10, 2006.
This transgenerational feud was at the core of Jing-Meis’ mother’s incessant desire for her to force Jing-Mei to become who she wanted her to be. Causing Jing-Mei to rebel and to also plead with her mother to see her and accept her for who she was. She gained strength each time she rebelled. “I failed her so many times, each time asserting my own will, my right to fall short of expectations”(79). She made the choice to be herself; and enabled herself to move beyond being a “Pleading Child” and into a woman “Perfectly Content”.