| Quote #1
The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum. This bird, boasted the market vendor, was once a duck that stretched its neck in hopes of becoming a goose, and now look! – it is too beautiful to eat. (I.Prologue.1)
The duck transformed itself into more than what it was aiming for.
| Quote #2
So I walked closer yet, until I could see the face of the Moon Lady: shrunken cheeks, a broad oily nose, large glaring teeth, and red-stained eyes. A face so tired that as she wearily pulled off her hair, her long gown fell from her shoulders. And as the secret wish fell from my lips, the Moon Lady looked at me and became a man. (I.4.113)
Her desire for the Moon Lady to be real and able to grant wishes transforms a frightening man into a beautiful Moon Lady. But Ying-ying’s illusion is shattered on close inspection.
| Quote #3
And I too saw Bing trudging wearily at the far end of the beach, his shoes hanging in his hand, his dark head bent over in exhaustion. I could feel what my mother felt. The hunger in our hearts was instantly filled. And then the two of us, before we could even get to our feet, saw him light a cigarette, grow tall, and become a stranger. (II.3.89)
For Rose and her mother, the strength of their desire to see Bing momentarily transforms a strange man into the four-year-old Bing.