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Quotes

Quote #4

"You weren't supposed to come here," he said, the front seat a barrier against the two women over whom a spell of old age had been cast. "It's a mistake for you to be here. You can't belong. You don't have the hardness for this country. I have a new life" (4.303).

Moon Orchid's husband tells her that she is foreign and wrong for America without realizing that he is the one actively ostracizing her from his life in the United States.

Quote #5

"Look at her. She'd never fit into an American household. I have important American guests who come inside my house to eat." He turned to Moon Orchid. "You can't talk to them. You can barely talk to me" (4.314).

Even though Moon Orchid and her husband both speak Cantonese, another type of language becomes the barrier between the lives they lead. This is not a language between individuals but between groups.

Quote #6

Her husband looked like one of the ghosts passing the car windows, and she must look like a ghost from China. They had indeed entered the land of ghosts, and they had become ghosts (4.315).

Kingston reflects on the foreignness between the once married couple of Moon Orchid and her husband. Both foreigners to one another now and figments of memory, Moon Orchid and her husband represent the problem of shifting locations without shifting relations.

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