Wayson Choy; the Jade Peony

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Chinese immigrants in Canada were treated poorly during the depression. Life was hard, but acceptance and the family’s bond kept spirits high and helped them pull through the tough times. In The Jade Peony, the writer, Wayson Choy, tells three children’s perspectives of their family of Chinese immigrants dealing with death and acceptance during the depression. Everyone should read the Jade Peony because it develops important themes throughout the novel using the symbols and settings.

The theme of thing’s not always being what they seem is portrayed through the symbol of Gold Mountain and the setting and conditions of the depression. Talk in China caused the immigrants to believe that Gold Mountain would make them rich. Families piled on boats to come to Canada in hope for a better life for their children. The would soon discover they had immigrated to over work and be under payed. The reputation of Gold Mountain was nothing more than a fantasy. Canada was talked about in China as the place for a better life. When Chinese immigrants came to Canada they would find themselves affected by discrimination and the depression. Children however were unaware of this. Parents would put up a front and act as if life is going as it should to save their children from the harsh reality. Times were tough, and parents struggled to find jobs to provide for their family. The kids were protected from the truth so they could enjoy life worry free from adult issues. Children’s lack of knowledge, Canada and Gold Mountain are relations to the theme.

Poh Poh has a good grasp on the theme of accepting fate. She shows an understanding of the theme throughout the novel. When the white cat with red eyes shows up at the window Poh Poh knows its her time to pass. She claims it’s the Juggler (her lost lover) coming to take her to the after life. Throughout the novel Poh Poh continues saying, “I too old! Die soon!” She knows her time is coming and choses not to fight...
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