Paying the Price: The Adventures of Eddie Fung

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The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was tailored to cripple the immigration of Chinese into the United States, because they were deemed inassimilable and seen as uncivilized, unclean and filthy, creating an anti-Chinese fervor (Zia). This era promoted resentment towards Chinese which further escalated, with the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 that extended to other Asian groups. Nonetheless, this did not prevent Chinese immigrants from entering the United States. Chinese found loopholes in the law that allowed them to bring their family members as ‘paper sons’. The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco destroyed municipal records, which catalyzed immigration from China by allowing Chinese-men to claim US citizenship and bring their family from China (Takaki 8). The Adventures of Eddie Fung depicts the story of a young-man born in China and his immigration to the US as a ‘paper son’ in the 1930s. His significance correlates to the contradiction developed by US deeming Chinese as inassimilable, and presenting Eddie enduring his hardships but maintaining his inner-American spirit. The book portrays his life in Chinatown, Texas and serving for the US military during WWII, which allowed Chinese to experience the preliminary steps in gaining acceptance in the US (Takaki 14).
Eddie’s father arrived to Canada first in the early 1900s and then immigrated to the US illegally. He built his residency in Chinatown and eventually sent for his family after the San Francisco earthquake. Chinatown served as an ethnic enclave “where ancestral culture and values are honored and practiced as a way of life, and ethnic pride is invigorated” (Zhou-Gatewood 126). These enclaves allowed Chinese to smoothly transition into a façade of American life. Living in a p...

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... that Chinese and Asian Americans were inassimilable.

Works Cited

Fung, Eddie, and Judy Yung. The Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War. Seattle: U of Washington, 2007. Print.
Takaki, Ronald T. "14 World War II." A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1993. N. pag. Print.
Takaki, Ronald T. "8 Searching for Gold Mountains." A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1993. N. pag. Print.
Zhou, Min, and James V. Gatewood. "4 Globalization and Contemporary Immigration to the United States." Contemporary Asian America: A Multidisciplinary Reader. New York: New York UP, 2007. N. pag. Print.
Zia, Helen. "Surrogate Slaves to American Dreamers." Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000. N. pag. Print.
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