Study Guide

Father in In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

By Bette Bao Lord

Father

I Dreamed a Dream

Mr. Wong has a big dreamer, and he lives his fantasy. He's one of the only Wongs who's left China to pursue his individual dream, in the process leaving his family, the core unit of 1940s Chinese life, behind. This is pretty untraditional, but for this engineer, it was an opportunity he couldn't miss.

Father is all about the opportunities America offers. He's into new fangled gizmos and gadgets, like washing machines and refrigerators, and wows his daughter with a new bed. Even when he's faced with something as simple as the junk in a furnace room, he sees it as possible treasure:

He grinned as if he had unearthed a store of treasures, banging a pipe here, examining a wire there. "This will be a wonderful challenge. Just wonderful." (8.36)

This man should be in PR—he could turn straw into gold. Shirley isn't always so on board with his endless optimism, but she's her dad's daughter, so she realizes eventually how good she's got it, thanks to her dad.

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