The Jade Peony Literary Elements

The Jade Peony Literary Elements


A short story

Setting and Context

The story takes place in Vancouver.

Narrator and Point of View

The story is told from the first point of view by Sek-Lung.

Tone and Mood

The tone is sorrowful. The mood is gloomy. However, it becomes hopeful in the end. Sek-Lung understands that his Grandmama hasn’t left him, since she continues to live in his heart.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Sek-Lung is a protagonist. Death is an antagonist.

Major Conflict

There are two major conflicts. The first one is person vs. self. Sek-Lung has to learn how to subdue his grief. Another conflict is person vs. society. Grandmama can’t adjust to life in Canada; she doesn’t understand this strange country.


Grandmama’s death is the climax of the story.


When Grandmama died at 83 our whole household held its breath.


For days she had resisted going into the hospital…a cold, just a cold…
Just "a cold" resulted in death.


The story alludes to the Chinese famine of 1942-43 that occurred mainly in Henan.


See the imagery section


They all loved Grandmama, but she was inconvenient, unsettling.


Her hands worked on their own command, each hand racing with a life of its own: cutting, snapping, braiding, knotting…

Metonymy and Synecdoche



He is in this room. He is death.

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