In the parable for part 3, a mother sees her adult daughter’s condominium for the first time, and is horrified to see a mirrored dresser at the foot of the bed. According to superstitious tradition, having mirrors in certain places causes marital happiness to bounce away.
The mother’s over-the-top reaction to a mirror shows how much Chinese tradition helps to psychologically comfort immigrant parents. By passing on old beliefs, parents can contribute some protection to their children, even if they don’t fully understand American ways.
The daughter irritably accuses her mother of finding bad omens in everything, and ignores the warning for the sake of her bedroom’s aesthetics. Still, her mother persists, pulling out a large, cheap mirror from a bag. This mirror is her housewarming present for her daughter, meant to re-align the bad mirror’s reflection and boost “peach-blossom luck.”
The difference in aesthetic decision-making represents the gap between old-fashioned superstition and the modern value of status. Both generations believe they’re right, and they are. They simply can’t find a middle ground.
The daughter asks what peach-blossom luck is, and the mother tells her to look inside the mirror and see the future granddaughter awaiting them. The daughter looks into the mirror and sees her own reflection looking back at her.
A daughter is a direct reflection of her mother, and in a transitive sense, of her grandmother too. Values are passed down through generations, which the daughter finally recognizes.