Life In Jean Kwok's 'Where The Gods Fly'

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Where the Gods Fly
Every year there are tons of families who emigrate from their home country to seek happiness in another. But this process does not always have a happy ending. A lot of the families wish to live a happy life in the new country – without forgetting their heritage. But is it really possible to have two equally important cultures without letting go of one of them?

The Chinese American writer Jean Kwok has written the short story “Where the Gods Fly”. It is told in both a present and past tense from a first person narrator.
The story starts off in present time and in medias res (“I kneel here before the gods” ), where the unnamed narrator is facing the gods with a problem that troubles her. She is considering to take “(…) her [daughter’s] greatest love away” – the ballet.
The daughter Pearl was only allowed “(…) to dance because [her parents] had no place else to put her (…)” while they were working at a factory. She was at first placed home alone but later brought to the factory with her parents while they were working.
But a ballet school unexpectedly “(…) plucked Pearl out to be one of their scholarship students” with whom she could be with instead of being dragged to the factory every day. The ballet changed quite a few things both in Pearl’s but also in the family’s life. “(…) she became suddenly popular” and because she received praises from other mothers she had to “(…) translate their words” so her own mother would be able to understand it.

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