On Gold Mountain Setting & Symbolism

Lisa See
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Chinatown, Los Angeles, early 20th century

The See family move to Los Angeles in 1897. The original draw of the city was the gold rush, but the “golden warmth of the sun” (62) and the transcontinental railroad keeps a regular influx of people into the city. The Chinese “carved out a small place for themselves bordered on the south by the slaughterhouses, on the east by railroad cars and a gas plant, on the north by the fading glory of the old Spanish Plaza, and on the west by the burgeoning Caucasian metropolis” (63). In Los Angeles’ Chinatown, there were Western style brick buildings and old adobe houses in bright colors of red, yellow and green. Only about 50 percent of the interior rooms of these houses had windows due to California’s checkered past of harboring illegal residents and hiding or escaping from gambling dens. Even fewer rooms had heat or...

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This section contains 1,962 words
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