Essay on The most intriguing character in The Jade Peony

1331 Words Dec 5th, 2013 6 Pages
In the Jade Peony of Wayson Choy, poh-poh or the grandmama seems to be the most intriguing character. Her character is complex for her grandchildren who are the narrators of the novel and therefore complicated for the reader of the novel; but not so complicated for their neighbour Mrs. Lim or even Father and stepmother who are from the generation in between. Even though Poh-poh’s character is not the narrator, she is present throughout the story even after her death. In each of the three stories, she is mentioned, described, or quoted by the narrators. She has a huge impact on all narrators. Poh-poh like any other grandparent likes to teach her culture, traditions, and language to her grandchildren. The only difference is that her …show more content…
For example she said “This useless only-granddaughter wants to be Shir-lee Tem-polah; the useless Second Grandson wants to be cow-boy-lah. The First Grandson wants to be Charlie Chan. All stupid foolish!”(Wayson 37) Poh-poh, being an appraiser, watches all of the children closely. She is the only one who knew about Jung’s sexual orientation but she probably acted more open-minded than anyone else would do at that time in Canada. These are other factors that show she would not discriminate but she would treat every one according to one’s situation.
In the hierarchy of the house Poh-poh sits on top, at lease at home. For example she decided to keep things simple by ordering everyone to call Father’s wife stepmother, even though she was the actual mother of two out of four children. Father does not protest to this decision neither does the “stepmother”. Also when Poh-poh says a discussion is over, it is over. For an instance, when children are trying to convince their father to exclude the mandarin language from their studies and their father does not have a reasonable answer for them, she closes the conversation by saying “we are all Chinese”. Meaning no one is merely Canadian. Everyone respect her and give up the argument.
Poh-poh was owned by a rich family in her childhood where having a status and a class would determine a person’s worth. Growing up with those kinds of values, she has adopted the same type of morals in her unconsciousness. She

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