The Jade Peony

Introduction

The Jade Peony is a novel by Wayson Choy. It was first published in 1995 by Douglas and McIntyre.

The novel features stories told by three siblings, Jook-Liang, Jung-Sum and Sek-Lung or Sekky. Each child tells their own unique story, revealing their personal flaws and differences.

Set in Vancouver's Chinatown, the novel takes place during the 1930s and 1940s and among other events, explores the ways in which the Chinese and majority of Canadians once viewed the Japanese, especially during Japan's occupation of China during the Second World War and in the events following Pearl Harbor.

Other issues dealt with in this novel include the sense of belonging to a nation, and how young children of immigrants felt at this time, trying to find their identity when they were alien residents in Canada, but were not born in the same country as their parents were. They are working to find their identity as Chinese Canadians, and find either embrace being Canadian, or keep the Old China ways alive. This issue becomes especially important in the wake of their grandmother (called Poh-Poh or the Old One)'s death.


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