Short Story The Jade Peony

1297 Words6 Pages
Taking place in Vancouver, Canada, as a Chinese immigrant, Grandmama, is determined to stay true to herself and her beliefs in order to decide her own fate, despite what others think. The short story, The Jade Peony, written by Wayson Choy, demonstrates how one's dedication to their culture, love for family and the preservation of memories can allow one to feel intact, regardless of other people's opinion and resulting in one's capability/ability to determine one's own fate. As Grandmama prepares for death, she cherishes and passes on her past experiences in China as well as her current memories in Canada, she continues to follow her traditions and prepares her family for her death while attempting to pursue her destiny.

Close memories that
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“I – I am going to the hospital, Grandson.” Her hand [reaches] out for [Sek-Lung]. “You know, Little Son, whatever happens I will never leave you.” Her palm [feels] plush and warm, the slender, old fingers boney and firm, so magically strong [is]her grip that [Sek-Lung][can] not imagine how she could ever part from [him]. Ever”. She reassures Sek-Lung multiple times throughout the story, “[Sek-Lung] [falls] against her and [cries], and there in [his] crying [Sek-Lung] [knows] that she would die. [He] can still remember the touch of her hand on [his] head, and the smell of her thick woolen sweater pressed against [his] face. “I will always be with you, Little Sek-Lung, but in a different way . . . you’ll see.” Another example is, “I can’t last forever,” she [declares], when she [lets] me in on the secret of this one. “It will sing and dance and glitter,” her long fingers [stretch] into the air, pantomiming the waving motion of her ghost chimes; “My spirit will hear its sounds and see its light and return to this house and say goodbye to you.” Grandmama comprehends that in order to permit herself to die she must prepare Sek-Lung for the possibility of her death and at the same time convince him that she will eternally be in his heart, supporting him no matter what. Grandmama expresses specific instructions to her son, Sek-Lung’s father, in relation to the correct assembly and ritual with the wind chime so that she can visit her family after her death. Another example is when she prepares Sek-Lung for her death, “[Sek-Lung] [begins] to cry and [he] quickly [puts] [his] hand in [his] pocket for a handkerchief. Instead, caught between [his] fingers, was the small, round firmness of the jade peony.

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