The China Coin
By Allan Baillie
A half of a broken coin is the only connection Leah and her mother Joan have with their lost family in China. They discover not only their extended family, but also their extensive family history. This ultimately gives them a sense of identity and belonging, which brings a positive change in both of them. At the beginning of the narrative it is clear Leah’s relationship with her mother Joan is tensed, since she refers to her as the ‘evil aunt’ and ‘Joan’. It is later revealed that Leah is angry at her for ‘forgetting’ her father, David Waters, so quickly after his funeral. Leah gets lost in Shanghai, and the quote ‘Orphan Annie’ is used to describe her situation here. No parents with her leading to no sense of belonging. It also grows the conflict between her and her mother. ‘It’s your rotten China!’ (p.65) ‘I’m not complicated. I’m still after what you wanted… she wanted to find the only family she had in the world, fast and to forget about you… and now it’s all about forgetting you’ (p.77-78) Leah feels non-belonging because Joan wants to find other relatives which are not hers only Joan’s. Leah is afraid that Joan may be going to forget her. However, Leah begins to understand her mother more through her experiences. In coming to terms with her father’s death during the trip up the Yangtze River, she decides to end the conflict with her mother and rebuild the relationship. ‘It’s over.’ Leach took Joan’s hand and squeezed. ‘We’ve been through a lot, eh?’ (p.82) Not only does Leah learn to accept her mother, she gradually grows to accept her Chinese heritage and extended Chinese family. In traveling to China, Leah is confronted with the question of her true identity for the first time. However, as she becomes accepted by her extended Chinese family and learns more about their history, she comes to a place of accepting herself. She concludes, ‘No, you’re not Chinese, but you’re not not Chinese either. It doesn’t matter any more.’...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document