There are many literary elements in this short story. The following is a sampling of some various types:
Allusion: Shirley Temple was a pop culture darling in the late 1930s. Her adorable curls and innocent spunk were widely adored. In this story, the narrator's mother believes that she can be a "Chinese Shirley Temple."
Simile: And she also did a fancy sweep of a curtsy, so that the fluffy skirt of her white dress cascaded to the floor like petals of a large carnation.
The white dress of this prodigy is compared to the petals of a white carnation, which also symbolizes innocence. The imagery and symbolism is then transferred to the hopes of Jing-Mei's mother for her daughter.
Hyperbole: And now I realized how many people were in the audience—the whole world, it seemed.
The entire world isn't awaiting her performance, but it feels to Jing-Mei as if an enormous crowd has gathered, which is undoubtedly amplified because of her lack of preparation.
Juxtaposition: The two songs that Jing-Mei notices when she's a grown woman are side-by-side and completely opposite: "Pleading Child" and "Perfectly Contented." These contrasting ideas are "two halves of the same song," and Jing-Mei realizes that she's been both daughters during her lifetime.
Irony: Although she has not practiced and has made a mockery of her lessons, Jing-Mei is filled with confidence as she prepares to take center stage:
When my turn came, I was very confident. I remember my childish excitement. It was as if I knew, without a doubt, that the prodigy side of me really did exist. I had no fear whatsoever, no nervousness. I remember thinking, This is it! This is it!
This is definitely not the expected reaction of a girl who is bound to fail once she begins playing songs she's barely rehearsed. The irony further propels the foreshadowing of the impending disaster of this recital.