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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #7

Occasionally the rumor went about that the United States immigration authorities had set up headquarters in the San Francisco or Sacramento Chinatown to urge wetbacks and stowaways, anybody here on fake papers, to come to the city and get their files straightened out. The immigrants discussed whether or not to turn themselves in. "We might as well," somebody would say. "Then we'd have our citizenship for real." "Don't be a fool," somebody else would say. "It's a trap. You go in there saying you want to straighten out your papers, they'll deport you" (5.103-104).

In this brief moment, Kingston shows the complicated immigrant statuses in the Chinatown community. Race, then, is not the only factor but also documentation and national standing.

Quote #8

There were many crazy girls and women. Perhaps the sane people stayed in China to build the new, sane society. Or perhaps our little village had become odd in its isolation. No other Chinese, neither the ones in Sacramento, nor the ones in San Francisco, nor Hawaii speak like us (5.111).

Kingston clarifies that the people in her village and her family are not representative of all Chinese people.

Quote #9

After twelve years among the Southern Hsiung-nu, Ts'ai Yen was ransomed and married to Tung Ssu so that her father would have Han descendants. She brought her songs back from the savage lands, and one of the three that has been passed down to us is "Eighteen Stanzas for a Barbarian Reed Pipe," a song that Chinese sing to their own instruments. It translated well (5.197).

The tale of Ts'ai Yen shows how ethnic, linguistic and cultural differences still make it possible to share stories and express feelings.

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