A Song For A Barbarian Reed Pipe Analysis

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During the chaos of their perilous journey to America, compounded by the discrimination and dehumanization faced upon arriving at Angel Island, the wives of Chinese immigrants more often than not became a memory of the world these men were leaving behind. American policymakers dictated, “In 1884, a California court interpreted the 1882 Exclusion Act to mean that Chinese immigrants could not send for their wives. As a result, families were separated for years, or even decades.” (AAIJ). This law would not be repealed until 1943, before the husband of Brave Orchid’s sister, Moon Orchid would travel to America with the hopes of becoming a surgeon. Moon Orchid, unable to immigrate is left in Hong Kong for over thirty years where she grows old raising …show more content…
Through her This progression from a narrative voice that expresses a dichotomy between cultures, to a more complex blend of form of autobiography signifies an exercise in catharsis the author utilizes to deescalate the tension between herself and her mother. Kingston displays in a “A Song for A Barbarian Reed Pipe, a story of a displaced mother raising her children in a culture and language different than that of her homeland when she begins, “Here is a story my mother told me, not when I was young, but recently, when I told her I also talk story.” (Kingston 206). Being the focus of the story, character Ts’ai Yen represents the plight of both the reality and collective fiction of the author when she begins to sing her own song amidst the alien rituals of the barbarian people. Although Ts’ai’s, “words seemed to be Chinese,” a language and culture equally as exoitc the barbarians as their customs were at first to their captive, “the barbarians understood their sadness and anger.” (Kingston 209). The collective conscious of immigrant peoples, especially that of Chinese Americans seeking access to the promise of America must never be overlooked when examining an individual’s motivations and habits. Kingston’s insatiable desire for acceptance in the eyes of her mother presents a conflict of identity the author admits plague’s her development as she comes of age in America. Hunsaker chronicles this conundrum with succinct clarity when he postulates, “no matter how eager children may be to consent to change, their fortunes are inseparable from the legacy of their parents. (Hunsaker 458). No matter how hard she may try, Kingston will never be able to shed her skin and assume an identity that is not blemished by the experiences of her ancestors. Although Kingston may share

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