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Isu Analysis The Jade Peony

1272 words - 5 pages

One of the themes of the Jade Peony was the difficulty that the early Chinese immigrants had to face when they came to Canada in the late 1800s. Wong Suk is one of the early immigrants, believing there is a "gold mountain" that could make them rich. "There had also been rumours of gold in the rivers that poured down those mountain cliffs, gold that could make a man and his family wealthy overnight." (pg 17). When he first arrived, he found out the "gold mountain" was only a lie, instead waiting for him is dangerous railroad work, a low-paying job "with only a few dollars left to send back to China every month, and never enough dollars to buy passage home." (pg 17). He also had to face a racist Canadian government, who "passed the Chinese Exclusion Act and shut down all ordinary bachelor-man traffic between Canada and China, shut off any women from arriving, and divided families." (pg 17). In those early years Chinatown was populated with males, this reflected the process of men was brought over for labourers and the women were left behind in China. Wong Suk was unhappy with the government's treatment and he remarked, "One day they say Old Wong okay-okay. Next day, Wong stinky Chink." (pg 48). The racism caused the Chinese to resent Canadian culture. Therefore, the elders, Poh Poh and Wong Suk, never gotten use to the Canadian Society, and were unable to accept the Canadian culture. Therefore Chinatown was created, a society that runs like as if it is in China. The Chinese created their own small town over the sea and out in the middle of a strange country, to produce the next generation and to keep alive the Chinese culture and tradition. Even when they passed away, they wish their bones would be brought back to China. "Two thousand pounds of bones going home to China... isn't that wonderful?" (pg 64).Each and every day, migrants from around the world flock to seek refuge in the so-called 'western society.' Life in countries such as the United States and Canada are seen to be a dream; the 'immigrant dream.' It is the pre-notion that life within these countries is one that is driven by happiness, employment and financial security. Once a migrant arrives in the new land, he is automatically faced with the 'immigrant experience.' This being defined as one's encounter with the new land, whether it is prosperous or fruitless. Both novels, The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy and Disappearing Moon Café by Sky Lee, explore the Chinese immigrant experience in Canada and its effect on individual identity throughout each generation.Taking a nostalgic look back at Vancouver during the early 1940's, life of a Chinese immigrant was characterized by many social, economic and personal hardships, which can be seen in the novel, The Jade Peony. Government legislation and racism prevented the Chinese from achieving economic prosperity while cultural politics and social pressures caused generational conflicts and ultimately a division among generations, between the...

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