Synthesis Essay

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Created for an assignment in my PLP class.

Submitted: November 29, 2015

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Submitted: November 29, 2015



Sythesis Essay

The early years of BC saw minorities enduring much discrimination and suffering at the hands of Westerners. In Escape to Gold Mountain by David Wong and "Jook-Liang, only sister" from The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy, the mood, word choice, and point of view represent the struggle minorities faced to achieve equity, and the empathy we feel for their struggle. 

The mood both authors use convey meaning because you feel the anguish that the minorities felt during a period of struggle, and empathy is felt for those people. Westerners were targeting minorities in early BC with violence and discrimination, and with thoughts such as: "I'll kill em' if they don't show me their gold! I got an axe with a China man's name on it!" (Wong 117). Sadness is felt for the minorities who faced these terrible acts by the way Wong wrote this graphic novel. The minorities are displayed as faceless and worthless, and the author displayed the man speaking as their superior. Therefore the reader feels sympathy for the minorities. This same feeling is expressed by the author of the second fiction novel, where he describes the Monkey Man's past. In the reading Jook-Liang is exclaiming: "I looked at his face in the photo and the face before me: the sadness was still there" (Choy). The Monkey Man is displayed by the author as an old ugly man, who has undergone severe struggle in the past. The grief has stayed with him through his lifetime, and the reader feels sympathy for what he has been through. The anguish felt by the minorities of this time was immense.  Both authors choose to convey a sad mood by the way they describe the circumstances and the feelings of the minorities. The reader feels intense empathy for the struggle they went through to achieve equity during this harsh time. 

The second literary device used by both authors to represent the minorities struggle is word choice.  The word choice of Chinglish transmits meaning because it shows the cultural division present during that time in BC, and how the minorities dealt with it. Chinglish is the mixture of English and Chinese used by minorities in America and Canada during earlier years. In Wong's graphic novel, he displays the cultural division through the following conversation: "Uncle how is this Gam Samm?" Gin asks his uncle using Chinglish. "Gam Samm my ass! It's called America" (Wong 100) his uncle replies, replacing his Chinglish with English. These two statements are the authors way of displaying how the minorities mixed English with Chinese to communicate. Wong displays Gin to be using Chinglish, while the uncle is displayed to be using English only. This represents the division of culture present at the time. The author of the other book used word choice when Jook-Liang proudly stated: "I wanted to hear him speak Chinglish - the mix of Chinese and English we threw together for our own secret talks" (Choy). Choy decided to state the fact that they use Chinglish for their secret talks, representing the cultural division present between the minorities and the Westerners.  A mix of Chinese and English was the word choice of both authors, a slang that Westerners did not understand, and thus dividing the two different cultures.

With regard to the third literary device, both authors tell the story from a Chinese's point of view, and do so to improve the readers understanding of their struggle for equity. The author of Escape to Gold Mountain uses the character of a Chinese grandmother to tell the story. She is explaining to her children: "All we wanted was work, but we were Chinese.... they said we were not like them" (Wong 38). The author has put this line at the beginning of the story to inform the reader that it will be told from the perspective of a Chinese person. He wants the reader to feel more attached to the minority group, and to  feel greater empathy for what they underwent. Choys fiction novel uses the Chinese point of view through the characters accustoming to Canadian culture, such as when: “Poh-Poh insisted we simplify our kinship terms in Canada, so my mother became 'Stepmother' "(Choy). This sentence expresses Poh-Poh's point of view for how they, and other Chinese people, were accustoming to Canadian culture. Both authors used Chinese persons point of view for the reader to witness their struggle for equity, and the hardship they underwent.

In Escape to Gold Mountain by David Wong and "Jook-Liang, only sister" from The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy, the minorities of early BC endeavour for equity, and through tone, word choice and point of view we feel empathy for them. These two authors use their words very carefully to paint the picture of early Canada and the pioneer minorities who paved the way for Chinese in Canada today. 

© Copyright 2019 Michael Fourie. All rights reserved.

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