Why isn't Shirley Temple the right kind of prodigy for Jing-mei to emulate?

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In the story, Jing-Mei's mother tries to inspire Jing-Mei to become a Chinese Shirley Temple. She takes Jing-Mei to a beauty training school in order to have her hair cut and fashioned in a Shirley Temple style. However, the plan to make Jing-Mei into a Chinese Shirley Temple falls flat...

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In the story, Jing-Mei's mother tries to inspire Jing-Mei to become a Chinese Shirley Temple. She takes Jing-Mei to a beauty training school in order to have her hair cut and fashioned in a Shirley Temple style. However, the plan to make Jing-Mei into a Chinese Shirley Temple falls flat when the beauty school trainee botches Jing-Mei's haircut.

Instead of big fat curls, Jing Mei's hair is an "uneven mass of crinkly black fuzz." Jing Mei's mother erroneously believes that showcasing the right hairstyle and evincing the ability to cry on demand will turn her daughter into a famous child prodigy. Her comments indicate that she may have underestimated the considerable training Jing-Mei would need to have in order to be as successful a child actress as Shirley Temple was. In fact, Shirley Temple herself was first enrolled in dance classes before she turned four. As a child actress, Shirley Temple had dancing, singing, and acting lessons in order to prepare her for her roles on the screen.

At nine years old, Jing Mei has had, by all indications, no prior training in singing, dancing, or acting. Thus, Shirley Temple may not have been the right kind of prodigy for Jing-Mei to emulate.

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