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The Jade Peony
Transcript of The Jade Peony
1. Jade Peony: Peonies are a symbol of everything good in life: wealth, beauty, social status, and good luck.
2. The white cat with pink eyes: symbolizes death and fate.
3. The wind chime: It represents culture for the next generation (the passing down of cultural beliefs and skill), because Poh-Poh has always been trying to show and teach Sek-Lung, bringing him to her work area to watch her create.
4. Poh-Poh's Hands: Her hands represent knowledge, creation and hard earned skill.
5. Poh-Poh: Poh-Poh symbolizes order and respect. Wayson Choy Symbolism Themes History Personal Connection Vancouver Chinatown 1930-1940 “But even if I was born in Vancouver, even if I should salute the Union Jack a hundred million times, even if I had the cleanest hands in all of the Dominion of Canada and prayed forever, I would still be Chinese."
- Sek-Lung "The Jade Peony" Life and Death Culture and Values "'You must realize that this Mandarin only confuses us . We are Cantonese speakers..'
'And you do not complain about Latin, French or German in your English school?' Father rattled his newspaper, a signal that his patience was ending."
-"The Jade Peony" “My spirit will hear its sounds and see its light and return to this house to say goodbye to you”
- Poh-Poh "The Jade Peony" >> Wayson Choy, born in 1939, is a former Gladstone Secondary Graduate student. Continuing his studies, he was accepted into The University of British Columbia, where he continued to pursue his love for writing.
>> Jade peony is his debut novel, which gained great praise and encouraged the release of his second novel: "Paper Shadows".
>> When Wayson Choy was 62 years old, he went through two near death experiences, which prompted the creation of the novel: "Not Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying". Wayson Choy explained that he had to write about his experiences to fully comprehend and come to terms with them.
>> At age 56, well after the deaths of both his parents, Choy receives a phone call from a woman named Hazel, who claimed that he was adopted and his biological mother is still alive. -cultural politics & social pressure -jobs were unstable Immigration -Chinese people were brought into Vancouver to build the railways -life in Vancouver, Chinatown=difficult -GREAT DEPRESSION -grandma's superstitions push plot, makes people feel tension & creates conflict in family Tension Conflict -PohPoh creates tension by using superstitions to control people around her -PohPoh always tell people ghost stories & superstitions=people who live around her felt her death Superstition -after PohPoh dies, each child has a different view on her death -Chinese people were brought to build the railways -After the railway was completed = the Chinese people were no longer useful for CPR and Canadian govt. -The government of Canada passed The Chinese Immigration Act 1885, 1900, 1903 = to pay head tax ($50-$150) Traditional/Old Chinese Customs Western/Canadian Values -Girls play low level roles in the family because lack of power and ability to make strong decisions -Grandmama firmly believes her family members should value Chinese lifestyle and practice rules and customs VS. -Grandmama wants kids to speak Chinese and not live a Canadian lifestyle -Women always have rights in home, have more power to control themselves and whole family -The wind chimes represent her life because she made them her whole life Life Death -The cat represents death because when Poh-Poh sees the cat she knows her time is almost up and that she is going to meet her Juggler -The children are confused to why they have to learn chinese when it isn't common outside of Chinatown -The kids don't approve of what Poh-Poh is doing because they are being made fun of THE END "I am too stubborn. The only cure for old age is to die."
- Poh-Poh "The Jade Peony" "Daaih ga tohng yahn," Grandmama said." We are all Chinese."
-Poh-Poh "The Jade Peony" "Daaih ga tohng yahn," Grandmama said." We are all Chinese."
When the influx of Chinese immigrants landed to labor on the Canadian Pacific Railway long ago during the late 1800s, Canada imposed the Chinese Immigration act, which more or less immobilized immigration from China. This created a new generation of Chinese-Canadians who had to live cautiously, in a new environment. They knew nothing and were discriminated against. The Jade Peony is set in the 1930s and 1940s. This time period was an crucial and interesting moment. There were children who were born and lived their whole lives on Canadian soil (Vancouver's Chinatown), they knew Vancouver as their only home, and despite disagreement from the elders, formed a bond to Vancouver. Wayson Choy was one of these Chinese-Canadians. This then contributes to our present equality in Vancouver. Compared to East Canada's cities, Vancouver has a significantly higher concentration of Chinese-Canadians. Jade Peony: Connection to Vancouver's Identity