What did the author mean by saying that "Pleading Child" and "Perfectly Contented" are "two halves of the same story"?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two opposite sides of a person are symbolized by the two musical pieces by Schumann. "Pleading Child" and "Perfectly Contented" are companion pieces. June plays "Pleading Child" at her first and last piano recital. In the end, June realizes that the two musical pieces, "Perfectly Contented" and "Pleading Child" are two halves of the same song just as she (June) had two sides to her. One side was the obedient daughter, and the other side was the disobedient daughter who finally told her mother she wished she was dead when her mother wanted June to continue her piano lessons after she played so awful in her recital. "For after our struggle at the piano, she never mentioned my playing again. . . .The lid to the piano was closed, shutting out the dust, my misery, and her dreams." After this, June's mother gave up on June's success in America, and June carried her disappointment into adulthood. While packing up her mother's things for her father, June reexamines the two sides of her childhood and finally resolves her guilt and disappointment in herself. She is able to remember her mother fondly and still be proud of the woman she has become.

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Two Kinds

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