Changing to a different culture is difficult. When a family moves to a different country, they need to adapt to that country’s culture while still keeping most of their own. It is difficult, especially when you have children because they are the most vulnerable. In the short story “The Jade Peony” by Wayson Choy, a Chinese-Canadian family struggles not to lose their Chinese culture like other families. The children are bewildered about changing to the Canadian culture or keeping their Chinese culture. They have to think deeply about whether they should keep their old Chinese culture and traditions.
Poh Poh, the children’s grandmother, seems to have never changed or adapted to the Canadian culture. She stuck with what she grew with, unlike her grandchildren who are born in a whole new different country with a whole new different culture. Poh Poh had a very special item, a small amulet of pinkish jade carved in the shape of a peony, a “Jade Peony.” It is her most valued possession, which she passed to one of her grandchildren after her death. The Jade Peony symbolized old China’s culture and traditions which stayed strong with her in Canada. The Jade Peony was there to keep them from losing their culture like many other new immigrant children. Their whole family went through a series of changes to become more Canadian, the peony was there to remind them of their cultural roots. It is important to keep your old traditions and cultural ways. It shows your uniqueness to other cultures. Just because you are born or moved to a different country, it doesn’t mean you should fully eradicate the things you would’ve done where you came from. It is important for a family to keep their old culture, it reminds them of where they came from, and it provides them with a sense of identity, purpose or belonging.