She had a meaningful friendship with him and treasured him deeply. P. L.T made her feel so good it allowed her to ignore the cruel world she lived in, she finally had something she could call her own. She loved P. L. T the way she longed to be loved. But just like everything else in her life, the one little pleasure she had was literally destroyed, it was her own father which had caused the death of her beloved P. L. T yet he showed no remorse for her emotions. Her clearest happy moments as a child were when she was at school and had a fantasy made-up life, the life she dreamt to have had.
In this life her friends where oblivious to her malicious family, this was why she enjoyed doing homework so much as it connected her to the life she wished she had. So, when she was voted class president she was honoured as well excited. She was ecstatic that her fellow students had trusted her with so much responsibility. Something her family never gave her, trust and responsibility. Her friends decide to throw her a surprise party to celebrate her being class president. At this occasion her whole lie is exposed and the truth about her vicious step mother and not-bothered father is revealed.
Again the happiness she experiences is taken away from her. She feels humiliated that her friends now know the truth, but she soon realises that her friends are true friends and that they don’t treat her differently for being loathed by her parents, and she felt that “yesterdays horrors started fading” but again, just like every other circumstance I have mentioned, it is transformed into a terrible, heartbreaking situation for Adeline as well as the reader. She is forced to leave her family, her friends and the country. Instead she is being taken to Tianjin and has to attend a boarding school.
Here we are told of another appalling factor that this child has to live through. The man who produced her, the man responsible for her, her own father asks his own daughter what her Chinese name was. Here she realises that she “meant so little to him”. A father should know his daughters name, its natural yet he doesn’t even know her age or birthday. Like I mentioned earlier, her being an optimistic child was able to find pleasure in the fact he allowed her to have his birth date. Even though he treated her so poorly she still had that respect for him.
At school, she was put in the lowest class, but the actions which hurt her most was not that her intelligence was being insulted but the fact that she never received any mail from anyone not even her Aunt Baba who promised she would write to her frequently. Further on in the story Adeline is introduced to Niangs’ sister, aunt Reine. Adeline feels happy with this family as she is treated equally. The whole family is full of love and equality. For example they all draw straws to see who sleeps in the cot. When Adeline sees the love that victor and Claudine share she seems shocked yet touched.
All week the schilling family, Niang and her biological family go out and enjoy themselves whilst leaving behind Adeline who was accompanied by ye-ye. She was “overjoyed” that she did not have to spend time with her step family. Whilst the Schilling family lived with Adeline she seemed happy. Adeline’s family have to pretend to be civil to each other like the Schilling family are. Finally, this loving family, which she enjoys, spending time with, have to leave. She urges to be able to accompany the Schilling family to the pier to say goodbye to the family she dreams to have, yet she is ignored.
So, we know now that the happiness she felt while the Schilling family are here is basically come to an end. Again, Adeline is enrolled into a boarding school. She can ‘hardly believe her good luck’, even though she is miserable at home, she is extremely relieved when she realises that she was not being abandoned by being boarded at this school. We can tell that even after all the heartache this family caused her; she dreads being abandoned or being alone. History seemed to repeat itself as she had no mail, week after week.
Again, the feeling of desertion even though she persuaded herself she was not abandoned arises. After months of no contact from the home, she finally finds out her beloved Ye Ye, the man she truly loved had died. The family could not have been blamed for the pain that Adeline felt yet the actions that followed, they could be blamed for such as the fact that on the same day as her Ye Ye’s funeral, she is sent back to school. This shows they do not allow her to grieve with them. They throw her back to an environment where Adeline feels no one can help her.
She is also notified by Niang that Adeline obligated to get a good job after school if she wants to continue living with them, yet she is not allowed to go to university. The prospect of no future really scared Adeline. She was a bright, young girl and she was not even allowed to go to university. The one blissful situation in the story which I feel does not result in a young girl feeling in despair is when Adeline realises she had won the play writing competition which she had entered previously in the story. Her father presents to her the newspaper in which she is mentioned.
She knows that he is ‘proud of her’. This obviously means a lot to her, as it is clear to see that it was one of her happiest moments in life. Here she decides to stretch out her hands and reach for the stars. She builds up her confidence to ask her father if he would allow her to go to The University of England, her father agrees to let her become a doctor just so she can have a future. This shows her father did love her as he had thought about her future and he had her best interests at heart. Adeline felt her life had not been that bad considering she knew her father had loved her.
Overall, the whole story ends with a happy ending. It ends with a letter that Aunt Baba had sent her and it is about how she is very proud of her. Even though I have mentioned many happy moments which Adeline experienced every single one of them were short lived and ruined by a sad moment taking over. Every good thing is over written by the terrible situations that Adeline faces. I do believe that Adeline had a small number of happy memories as a child, so she was not consistently unhappy, yet these situations where brief. And the majority of her memories consist of distressing situations.