On Discovery Essay

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Slowik teaches literature and writing at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. She has published critical essays on Leslie Marmon Silko, Adrienne Rich, and Robert Bly. In the following essay, Slowik compares Kingston's stories "On Discovery" and "On Fathers, " noting the difficulties inherent in writing on immigrant history and how they become apparent in the stories' narratives.

Maxine Hong Kingston begins China Men, her history of the Chinese immigration to America, with two peculiar chapters that suggest such a book is not easily written. The first chapter, "On Discovery," is the legend of Tang Ao, a Chinaman who sets off for America, the Gold Mountain, the land of infinite riches. Instead of finding America, he discovers rather the "Land of Women" where, in a grotesque parody of Chinese traditions, his feet are broken and bound, his ears are pierced, he is fed nothing but rice...

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This section contains 1,673 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the On Discovery Study Guide
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On Discovery from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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