BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong [in What Do I Read Next? Multicultural Literature]

Fifth Chinese DaughterJade Snow Wong is the American-born fifth daughter of Chinese immigrants. Growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Jade Snow must come to terms with two diverse worlds: a traditional household which strictly adheres to 19th-century standards of Imperial China, and the western values of the New World with its promises of freedom and individuality.

One of the first works of Asian American literature, Fifth Chinese Daughter has been criticized by Frank Chin and his “Gang of Four” (editors of the Aiiieeeee! anthologies) as an example of a “Chinatown Book” whose basic formula was “‘I’m an American because I eat spaghetti and Chinese because I eat chow mein.'” Chin argued that Wong, as well as other early Chinese American writers, wrote from a “white tradition of Chinese novelty” in which the white culture was “supreme,” rather than from the sense of a true “Chinese America.”

Review: “Asian American Titles,” What Do I Read Next? Multicultural Literature, Gale Research, 1997

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 1945


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