ISU Analysis - The Jade Peony

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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…show more content…
The old people, Poh Poh and Wong Bak, never integrated into the Canadian Society, and were unable to accept the Canadian culture. They were deeply devoted to their native country and had to go back to China to die, as indicated by Wong Bak's parting words, "bone must come to rest where they most belong"(Choy Pg. 35). Adults such as Father and Stepmother were trying to fit into the new society and were ready to give up their Chinese ways. At the same time, adults like Stepmother easily became a prisoner who was trapped between two cultures. "'What does this White Demon want?' said Stepmother, I could see she wished Suling were here, with her perfect English"(Choy Pg. 140). The younger generations born in Vancouver, like Juk-Liang and Sekky, were willing to become real Canadians. They hoped to be treated equally as the Canadian children, but even though they were born in Vancouver, they were still considered to be Chinese by other Canadians. The youths were distressed under the pressure of the older adults. The older generation said, "you do not know Chinese, you are mo yung-useless or mo nos-no brain"(Choy Pg. 135). "Smart English not Smart Chinese"(Choy Pg. 141) was another derogatory comment young Chinese Canadians had to endure. It was very hard to balance between their original identities and their chosen identities. For example Mrs. Lim asks Sek-Lung: 'Who are you Sek-Lung?... Are you tohng

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