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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Songs for a Barbarian Reed Pipe

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Kingston closes the book with the story of Ts'ai Yen and the translated songs that she brought to the Han people in China. As you might have noticed, Kingston also titles the last chapter "A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe," which gives us the clue that the five chapters together are Kingston's songs for a Barbarian Reed Pipe, or songs to be read and translated, to be passed on. We see the correlations between Kingston and Ts'ai Yen. Both are Chinese women who are taken away from mainland China. Both use art as the medium for communicating and creating a sense of family tradition.

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