Despite setbacks of his own making, Ralph Chang is ultimately successful in achieving his goal of a PhD in engineering. He marries Helen, a woman his family would have approved of, and despite some odd ideas about love and marriage, starts a family. He, Helen, and his sister Theresa all live quite happily, surrounded by "typical Americans". Until American-born Chinese Grover enters the picture. With Grover comes prosperity and happy times, but also imbalance and confusion.