Voyage and Gilded Expectations

 Many Chinese people left their culture and family behind to chase hopes and dreams of a new life and rich opportunity for a wealthy and successful future in American. Even though this is the typical enthusiastic first response, undoubtedly, as seen in many memoirs and other literary works, these hopeful Chinese were desperate to escape the poverty and political turmoil of China. As detainees write in poems full of prospect, "The gold and silver of America is very appealing" (Poem 4 from Lai 36) and "I admire the land of the Flowery Flag as a country of abundance/ I immediately raised money and started my journey" (Poem 9 from Lai 40). They risked the little they had to start a new life in America to fulfill dreams of prosperity through hard-work and survival. Such hopeful aspirations of a better and promising life in America are expressed in this poem where this young man poetically describes his high spirits "like a shooting arrow" (Poem 5 from Lai 36) and his heart "nervous with anticipation" (Poem 5 from Lai 36), because this is the beginning of the road and a new life of a promising future for him. However, some immigrants were sent by families only to become wealthy and spread the wealth as indicated in this poem, "My countenance is blackened. It is surely for the sake of the family" (Poem 4 from Lai 36). Nevertheless, a general enthusiastic feeling accompanied these Chinese immigrants on their voyage to America and the first few trivial days detained at Angel Island.


Introduction | Family and Dreams | Outpour | Poetry | Conclusion



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