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"The Jade Peony" By Wayson Choy: With Traditions And Beliefs, Come Old World Values

1137 words - 5 pages

In our multicultural world, things such as language, beliefs, dialects and following the old ways are important for one to recognize their religion and culture to the purest. Even though if one is born in a modernized country, one can still learn the old world values from one who has experience and knowledge of it. In Wayson Choy's award winning book, The Jade Peony, three characters represent the continuation of old world values. Poh-Poh represents the continuation of old world values because she often tells old Chinese stories to her grandchildren, like Sek-Lung, and she encourages him to speak in his mother's tongue. Further on, Mrs. Lim represents the continuation of old world values because she agrees that the old ways are better, and she too does encourage children like Sek-Lung to speak his traditional language. Lastly, Sek-Lung represents the continuation of old world values because he is taught the Chinese tradition, and he is encouraged by Poh-Poh that living in old china is better than living in new Canada.Poh-Poh being one of the eldest in the family, shares her stories about old Chinese myths, and she also represents the continuation of old world values because she encourages her grandchildren to think of themselves as purely Chinese. Poh-Poh tells Sek-Lung stories about old Chinese beliefs and myths, and so she wants him to believe that things like demons and spirits still exist in the modern world. This is shown when Poh-Poh says " Mountains that spilt apart, giving birth to demons who were out to kill you or to spirits who ached to test your courage" (21). Clearly, Poh-Poh wants to encourage Sek-Lung that old Chinese beliefs and myths still exist, and in resulting, she represents the continuation of old world values because she promotes historical values such as believing in old Chinese myths. Of even greater appeal, living in China for most of her life, Poh-Poh wants to get it in Sek-Lung's brainless head that he is purely Chinese even though he is born in Canada. This is shown in a dialogue between Sek-Lung and Poh-Poh, " Am I Chinese or Canadian? I asked stepmother. Tohng Yahn, Grandmama said, collapsing in her rocking chair and setting her grocery bags down on the floor. Chinese" (133). Clearly, Poh-Poh wants Sek-Lung to realise that he is simply Chinese and therefore she represents the continuation of old world values because she wants to keep the Chinese culture alive in the family. In final consideration, Poh-Poh being the old one who tries to teach her children about old world values, represents the continuation of old world values because she wants her grandchildren to follow the old Chinese traditions and she also wants them to believe in old Chinese myths.On the other hand, Mrs. Lim being a person who strongly believes in the Chinese tradition represents the continuation of old world values because she agrees that the old china ways are better, and she too does encourage Sek-Lung to speak his true language. Mrs.Lim...

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