Perhaps one of the biggest issues foreigners will come upon is to maintain a strong identity within the temptations and traditions from other cultures. Novelist Frank Delaney’s image of the search for identity is one of the best, quoting that one must “understand and reconnect with our stories, the stories of the ancestors . . . to build our identities”. For one, to maintain a firm identity, elderly characters often implement Chinese traditions to avoid younger generations veering toward different traditions, such as the Western culture. As well, the Chinese-Canadians of the novel sustain a superior identity because of their own cultural village in Vancouver, known as Chinatown, to implement firm beliefs, heritage, and pride. Thus in Wayson Choy’s, The Jade Peony, the novel discusses the challenge for different characters to maintain a firm and sole identity in the midst of a new environment with different temptations and influences. Ultimately, the characters of this novel rely upon different influences to form an identity, one of which being a strong and wide elderly personal influence.
To begin, different characters from the novel learn and come upon different cultures in however, the elderly continuously implement the ways of Old China to maintain a sole identity. One way this is demonstrated is that younger children gradually accept the generational Chinese identity passed on from elders to maintain one opinion and avoid other influences. For example, when granddaughter, Jook-Liang, begins to sing the common English nurses rhyme “Rain Rain Go Away,” she remembers her grandmother’s hateful thoughts. Grandmother’s, or Poh-Poh’s thoughts consisted of hatred towards “Eng...
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...ultural memory” (S. Source 1).
To conclude, Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony discusses the ability of different characters of the novel to maintain an old generational identity in the midst of a transpiring and much different setting. This is evident in the persistence of elderly characters, such as Grandmother Poh-Poh, who instigate the old Chinese culture to avoid the younger children from following different traditions. As well, the Chinese Canadians look to the Vancouver heritage community known as Chinatown to maintain their identity using on their historical past, beliefs, and traditions. The novel uniquely “encodes stories about their origins, its inhabitants, and the broader society in which they are set,” (S. Source 1) to teach for future generations. In conclusion, this influential novel discusses the ability for many characters to sustain one sole identity.
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