Deconstruction of "The Jade Peony"

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Elements of Fiction Assignment

Plot
“The Jade Peony” by Wayson Choy is about a Chinese immigrant family struggling to adapt to their new unfamiliar lifestyle in Vancouver. As the older children begin to neglect Chinese customs and become accustomed to the Canadian culture, 8 years old Sek-Lung is the only child interested in Grandma’s traditional customs. Sek-Lung accompanies Grandma as looks for abandoned fragments of glass and metal to finish her precious wind chime before she passes. As Sek-Lung spends time bonding with Grandma, she also reveals her past and first love “the juggler”.

Setting
The short story takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Sek-Lung’s family resides in Chinatown, a neighborhood where the alleys are filled with garbage cans. The family is not poor however they are struggling to make ends meet in the new country. The lack of advanced technology and immigrant circumstances places the story approximately around 1940’s or the 1950’s. The mood of the story is gloomy.

Characters
The protagonist 8 years old Sek-Lung is a round character, the reader is able to understand his personal thoughts and feelings. Sek-Lung is the only family member who understands Grandma’s intentions and supports learning his culture’s background. He does not change throughout the course of the story, therefore is he a static character.

Grandma in “The Jade Peony” is also like Sek-Lung a round character. Grandma is passionate about wind-chime and wants to maintain Chinese culture in the family’s Canadian community. She is a spiritual person however others may see her as “harmlessly crazy” old lady (111). Grandma’s love for Sek-Lung was her motivation to leave him the jade peony.

Sek-Lung’s parents are flat characters who not do change throughout the story. In addition, Sek-Lung also has two older brother and Liang, his 14 years old sister who are all flat character. Sek-Lung’s siblings do not appreciate learning Chinese culture and often neglect...
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