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The Jade Peony
Transcript of The Jade Peony
To enter and settle in a country or region to which one is not native. Jook Liang - Only Sister
"My heart almost burst with expectation. I looked again into the hall mirror, seeking Shirley Temple with her dimpled smile and perfect white-skin features. Bluntly reflected back at me was a broad sallow moon with slit dark eyes, topped by a helmet of black hair." (41)
"Who are you, Sek-Lung?" Mrs.Lim asked me. "Are you tohng yahn?"
"Canada!" I said, [...]
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 the Dominion of Canada and prayed forever, I would still be Chinese.
Stepmother knew this in her heart and feared for me. All the Chinatown adults were worried over those of us recently born in Canada, born "neither this nor that," neither Chinese nor Canadian, born without understanding the boundaries, born mo no - no brain." (152) Sek-Lung - Third Brother "We waited and waited. Perhaps the ambulance was slow because it was wartime, but I still recall Mrs. Lim saying, between bitter tears, 'we are Chinese; they take their time." (275) "She was a traitor. Her boyfriend was a Jap, a monster, one of the enemy waiting in the dark to destroy all of us." (247) CANADIAN Synopsis
The Jade Peony is set in the Chinatown of Vancouver during the late 1930s and ‘40s. The story is in the narrative of three siblings. Jook Liang, the only sister who searches for her own value as a girl while her Poh-Poh continuously calls her useless, no brain or ‘mo lou’. Jung-Sum, the second brother is an adopted child who struggles with his sexuality when he finds himself attracted to another boy in his boxing club. The third brother, Sek-Leung who has been sick most of his life yearns to find his identity as he is neither Chinese nor Canadian. Wayson Choy explores these boundaries and jumps through time to illustrate Vancouver’s Chinatown from these different perspectives. Jung-Sum - Middle Brother
"It's not a Chinese turtle." Bobby Steinberg sounded disgusted. "It's got to have a - you know - British or Canadian name."
"Why don't you call it Hopalong? Like the cowboy."
"That's United States," I protested. "This is a Canada turtle."
"So," Bobby Steinberg snapped..."Name it!"
"George," I said, pausing for effect. "King George." identity crisis simple is best stereotypes & false beliefs false hope