Tired of cramming for unrealistic achievements, Jing-Mei realizes that her mother wants to see someone else in her, and not the simple girl she actually is.This understanding of rejection of her true self by her own mother is the reason for Jing-Mei’s protest against such hurting of her self-esteem: “I won’t let her change me, I promised myself. In her resolute confrontation, Jing-Mei becomes withdrawn and does not see the true reasons for her mother’s attempts at making her successful.The almost week-long journey of the main character in , Victor, to collect the belongings of his deceased father, Arnold, may be seen as a symbolic depiction of the long spiritual way he covered to forgive Arnold for leaving his family.
Director Chris Eyre has found a way to capture both aspects of the reservation, so the audience understands both the lingering attraction of the reservation and what drives its inhabitants to desperation.
Think about the troubles that Victor and Thomas have traveling across the country, why is this?
The spheres where Jing-Mei should excel are chosen by her mother quite haphazardly, on the basis of articles about prodigies she reads in popular magazines.
Jing-Mei is hurt by the fact that her personal desires and interests are not reckoned with, and protests first latently by sabotaging piano lessons and then openly by confronting her mother and wishing she had never been born if she is not respected (Tan 186).
Victor’s friend Thomas attempts to reveal other, more positive and humane sides of Arnold to his son embittered by Arnold’s betrayal of his family.
Thomas turns out to have understood Arnold’s tragedy much deeper than Arnold’s own son: “All I know is that when your father left your mother, he lost you too” ().
Thomas, whom Victor regards as something of a pest, pleads to be taken along.
Their relation to each other and to Victor's dead father supplies the central dramatic impulse for the film.
The burden of fault for their deaths had haunted Arnold his whole life and led to his alcoholism and family disruption.
Gradual understanding of his father’s motives for drinking helps Victor accept the situation and forgive Arnold.