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China Men

Essay by   •  December 14, 2010  •  446 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,195 Views

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China Men

While each of the men in the Maxine Hong Kingston's novel "China Men" are from China, they each go to America to follow dreams about the Gold Mountain. Each grandfather has their own journey with their own message. The messages each had powerful meanings. Each of the men held on to a part of their pasts. Each sent money, corresponded, or even returned to China after time in America. The most powerful message is to remember where you came from.

One of the grandfathers, Eldest Brother Sao otherwise known as Mad Sao sees his dead mother after she passes away in China. For years, she writes him letters criticizing his American ways. She tells him that she is starving while he poses with his daughters, car, and house in America. The details of her letters become gruesome and gory, with people eating cats, rodents, and each other. She blames him for her ill health. While he ignores her pleas and regards them as exaggerated, she dies a lonely and hungry death. He sees her soul as he is about to fall asleep and wonders what has brought her to him. After being nagged non-stop by her, he pays to go back to China, to take her home.

"He returned his mother to the village. He went directly to her grave, as if led by her. 'Here you are, Mother,' he said...'you're home now. I've brought you home....You're home, Mother. I'm home too. I brought you home'" (179).

Sao is agonized by his dead mother's soul or his guilt or not doing anything for her that he is compelled and almost forced to return to China. He needed to return not only for his mother but also for himself. Sao acknowledges that he is home as well. Sao was "living it up" in America. He did not want to think about the terrifying experiences that his mother and neighbors were going through in China. They were living in poverty while he was able

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