Dragonwings is a story about Moon Shadow's experience adapting to the new circumstances of life in America. One important question the book puts forth is, how can a person find a sense of belonging when he's constantly made to feel foreign? This idea of feeling foreign is not only a figurative alienation (in the sense that Moon Shadow is not used to being treated differently because of his heritage, for example), but a geographical change and legal label. It is helpful to remember that Chinese immigrants in America were legally considered aliens ineligible for citizenship at this time..
Moon Shadow learns that demons are not so different from Tang people through his close friendship to Miss Whitlaw and Robin.
Moon Shadow believes that demons and Tang people are different because the authorities make it that way, which not even Miss Whitlaw can do anything about.