Could you imagine leaving all you’ve ever known to attempt to start over in hopes of living the “American Dream”? Most of us can’t because we haven’t been low enough or hit rock bottom to be willing to risk it all. However, there may be a lot of us that can relate to spending a life trying to obtain perfection and always falling short. How long will it be before you’ve had enough? At what point is it acceptable to call it quits? Who do you blame for your short comings?
The American dream, the promise of social equality, the empty guarantee of prosperity and the hope for success, not only for yourself but wealth for the family. The American dream is what drives most immigrants to our country and what pushes them to hound their children to be the greatest. After losing her parents, her home, her first husband, and her twin daughters, a dream of a brighter future drove Ni Kan’s mother to this melting pot. That dream and drive to push Ni Kan to be a “prodigy” is what also drives a wedge in their relationship and pushes her away.Although Ni Kan’s mother may have meant well, it is obvious that her mother’s determination affected the way she began to view herself.
Initially, Ni Kan seemed to enjoy the thought of one day becoming a prodigy. “In all of my imaginings I was filled with a sense that I would soon become perfect.” However, at moments it seemed like she was conflicted. “But sometimes the prodigy in me became impatient. If you don’t hurry up and get me out of here, I’m disappearing for good, it warned. And then you’ll always be nothing.”Failure after failure along with the constant look of disappointment on her mothers face soon made Ni Kan grow tired. She almost felt as if she was held to an impossible standard. Once Ni Kan grew fed up, she formulated a plan to simply stop responding and stop showing interest in her mother’s tests. She thought her plan had worked, which it might have, until she made the mistake of responding to her mother as she was watching the Ed Sullivan Show.
I think this is a very critical moment in their relationship. The biggest reason this moment is so critical is because Ni Kan finally speaks up to her mother about not accepting her, and her mother finally tells her is not about being important but about trying and putting forth the effort.I think, as a whole, Ni Kan’s relationship with her mother was a complete misunderstanding due to lack of communication. I feel like that one moment mentioned above carries throughout the remainder of the essay. All her mother wanted was for her to never stop trying. Always try to be the best version of you! Like a lot of us growing up she was too stubborn to hear the real message. She never truly understood until her mother was gone and she sat down at that very piano she once dreaded playing.
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