Creative Assignment in Historical Imagination Founded On Historical Research
Memoir of Zuli, a Chinese Woman
Zuli, a woman from China narrates her experience as a Chinese immigrant in America from 1855 to 1900. The woman says that she was motivated to leave home by the fact that there were high incomes in America. Her aunt chingcha and others who were lucky to arrive as immigrants in America before her used to tell her stories about how they were discriminated, but she could not give up her decision to leave home. Zuli disobeyed her father and escaped home to go to the Gold Mountain, as they called it in China. On arriving in America, zuli found out that life was different from what she expected. English was the national language in the country yet she did not know how to speak or write even a word. This factor limited her chances of getting a job, and she had to stay at her friend’s place. Zuli explains how she subjected herself to discrimination and pain in order to feed her mouth despite the hopes that she had before leaving home. The pain includes engaging in prostitution in order to eat and pay rent. The woman says that obedience is the essential factor to a successful life, and she advises the youth to learn to uphold the moral. This is because her disobedience bore bitter fruits, and she lost everything that she had hoped for in the end.
Aunt chingcha was my role model from when I was a kid because of her hard-working character. Chingcha grew in Hong Kong, the same town where I grew up, but she moved to the Gold Mountain when she reached twenty in 1845. The gold town was a place where people got well-paying jobs and owned land (Ahmad 95) contrary to my country. These are the characteristics that made people from my country call it the Gold Mountain. Everyone in my town was interested in moving to America to get rich and come back. The road to America was, however, not easy because only few people managed to go there and bring richness to their families. The journey to the land used to take one month, and on arrival, some immigrants, especially women would be sent back for reasons such as sickness (Spickard 102). Aunt Chingcha was among the few that managed to land in America, and she used to send us some of the money that she earned as a sewer in San Fransisco.
I was interested in moving to the Gold Mountain just like other people, but I was scared. One of the factors that scared me was my family. My father said that he would not allow me to leave because I had to take care of my younger brother while my mum worked. He also said that he wanted me to learn art as it was a tradition in my country. My aunt also told us that there was discrimination in America despite the high income and freedom. I could hear a voice inside my heart telling me that I would be successful like my aunt, only if I overcame my fear and went to the Gold Mountain. My friend Zuela helped me to overcome the fear inside me, and soon we escaped and went to America in 1855; by then, I was twenty years old. I did not care whether my parents would be worried about me neither did I mind the discrimination in America. All that I wanted was to work and send my parents money to pay my brother’s school fees. I also knew that I would come back and die in my country so that I would be buried near my ancestors (Lakos 35).
When I arrived in America, I found out that I could hardly read or write English, which was the main language in America. This meant that I would not get employed easily like my friend Zuela, who got employed at a garment factory in California. We lived in a shanty room that Zuela rent for five dollars a month as I searched for a job. One day as I went out searching as usual, I found a Chinese woman who I talked to, and she asked me to follow her because she would help me find a job. Her name was Chungxi and she came from Hong Kong, but her parents sold her in America so that they would get income to purchase necessities. Chungxi fled from Kansas where she was sold and became a prostitute in California. She introduced me to prostitution, a behavior that was common among immigrants from my country (Spickard 125). I encountered numerous challenges while practicing the immorality, for example, some clients failed to pay me on the basis that I was an immigrant. Others would force me to clean their clothes and houses for free.
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