On Discovery Historical Context

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Though "On Discovery" takes place in the timeless domain of legends and myths, it can be useful to explore the history of Chinese in the United States to see parallels between history and Kingston's writing. The California Gold Rush of 1849 attracted immigrants from allover the world. Three Chinese immigrated to California in 1848; by 1851, there were 25,000; and by 1884, fully half of the farm laborers in California were of Chinese ancestry. The phrase Kim Sum or "Gold Mountain," which the Chinese called (and still call) America, summarized their dreams of striking it rich and returning home to China. Despite their dreams of wealth and their desire to return home drenched in gold, many of these Chinese travelers to America stayed and made America their home

Laws in the nineteenth century made sure that the Chinese in America would have inferior status compared...

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This section contains 1,248 words
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Buy the On Discovery Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
On Discovery from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.