Mrs. Spring Fragrance Analysis

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Soran Kurdi Dr. Becky Gesteland MENG 6240 April 28th 2015 Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance: Challenging the Constructed Definitions of Chineseness The United States has experienced influxes of immigrants throughout its history. The great wave of immigrants started at the second half of the nineteenth-century. Among these were Chinese immigrants. From the 1840s to 1882, “more than 100,000 Chinese immigrants immigrated to the American west” ( First, they started working in the gold mines. Then, they took “agricultural jobs and factory work, especially in the garment industry. Chinese immigrants were particularly instrumental in building railroads in the American west. As the numbers of Chinese laborers increased, so did…show more content…
The stories found in Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings exemplify Far's attempt towards creating a more normal identity for the Chinese immigrants in America. In doing so, she minimizes the distance between the Chinese immigrants and white Americans, calling into question the white Americans’ claim to the notion that the Chinese are inassimilable and that the white Americans are the privileged race. She identifies racial and social inequality and marginalization of the…show more content…
Ellen Dupree, in her article “Sui Sin Far's Argument for Biculturalism in Mrs. Spring Fragrance,” states that the two story “[refutes] the American assumption that white American males treat their wives better than do Chinese husbands.” In “The Story of One White Woman Who Married a Chinese,” the narrator, a young mother named Minnie, describes a miserable life as the wife of James, a writer with an interest in women’s suffrage. James belittles Minnie’s desire to stay at home with their baby, urging her to model herself on the educated businesswomen of that time: “‘You weren't built for anything but taking care of kids. Gee! But there's a woman at our place who has a head for figures that makes her worth over a hundred dollars a month. Her husband would have a chance to develop himself’” (Far, 68). Minnie attempts to placate him by taking a low-paying clerical job, but she is deeply unhappy at being separated from her child. In the meantime, James begins to write a book, on which he is assisted by a stenographer, Miss Moran. On one occasion, Minnie overhears James attempting to seduce Miss Moran. After this, Minnie leaves James. Unable to find work, she wanders with her baby on the waterfront where she is rescued by Liu Kanghi, a Chinese

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