The Jade Peony Analysis

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It is a custom in the Chinese culture for some families to hang a wind chime in honor of their loved ones on the day that they pass. This is what the fictional character, Sek-Lung’s, father did in the short story, “The Jade Peony” written by Wayson Choy. Choy, being born a Canadian of Chinese descent, highlighted the struggle of living in between two drastically different, and distinguished cultures through Sek-Lung. The seven year old boy narrates his everyday adventures with his Grandmama. She has experienced it all and wishes to pass on her stories and traditions to the next generation. In her last months she occupied herself with caring for her grandson by making and collecting supplies to craft their beloved windchimes, specifically her…show more content…
Grandmama adored having the title of the so called “merchant”. In spite of the title, Grandmama made no profit for she only presented her merchandise as gifts to those close to her or kept them as personal treasures. Grandmama commenced the metier of crafting wind chimes after a poorly made wind chime that was gifted to her, broke. That wind chime had been gifted to her by a now lost friend and was the only physical representation of their friendship. To Sek-Lung’s young mind, the wind chimes that were created with Grandmama demonstrated the impact that a role, even from a prior stage in life, can have and how it affects your identity. Grandmama, for example, was obviously heavily associated with her wind chimes, especially seeing as it got her in some real hot water at times. The family was not appreciative of the expeditions that Grandmama took into the streets, and some back alleys, to collect the necessary scraps of metal for the wind chimes. Nonetheless, just as the tubes of the instrument would bang, their melody would be carried in the wind no matter how many conflicts arise just as Grandmama would continue through her disputes. By reiterating the hanging of Grandmama’s special wind chime, the center of which possessed a peony carving made of jade, the metaphor between the instrument and death reappears. You see, the wind chime has always been there, or soul been living, but once hung, the instrument gains the ability to make beautiful music through the wind. Which in Grandmama’s case is the new life to be lead after death. It is extremely important to recognize the effort that Choy wrote into Grandmama’s unwritten strain to teach Sek-Lung all of the essential morals and values that are embedded in the Chinese culture.
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