Journeys Journey A Lifetime of Journeys Journey is an important theme found in Asian American works. Although journey, by travel from one place to another is a common form of journey, the journey through life in search of success is also an important theme. In Asian American Literature, an anthology by Shawn Wong, who has been recognized for his works ofpublished poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews there are many references to journeys. Why does journey play such an important part of the lives of Asian Americans? What kinds of journeys does the literature of Asian Americans depict? What is the significance of journey in Asian American pieces? Journey is important to Asian Americans, because like so many other cultures, they too, are in search of a better way of life. The “American Dream”, is what everyone desires to achieve. The opportunity to make a good living and the freedom that America claims to offer is enough to entice anyone. “The Blossoming of Bongbong” in Asian American Literature, by Jessica Hagedon, who is from the Philippines and came to the United States in 1962 and has published work, is about a character named Antonio Gargazulio-Duarte who makes his way to America in search of the “American Dream”.
Antonio, also known as Bongbong, wanted to realize his dreams and felt that he would never achieve them in Manila. ” Bongbong finally left Manila on a plane for San Mobley-May 2 Francisco. He was deathly afraid” (Wong 203). Even though Bongbong was fearful of what he might find in America, he was determined to go after the opportunities he sought. Journeys take many forms in the writings, plays, movies and art of Asian Americans.
Journeys are taken from native countries to America, from one place to another in America, and the life spent trying to succeed or actually succeeding in their dreams. For instance, in Cathy Songs poem ” The Youngest Daughter” it says ” She knows I am not to be trusted, even now planning my escape” (381). The child in this poem desires escape from herself and her family, especially her mother. Then in the play “The Music Lessons”, by Wakako Yamauchi, who is a second generation Japanese American woman, she describes the suffering, hardships and the adapting that the first generation and successive generations of women from Japan had endured in the United States beginning in the early 1900s. Aki Sakata, who is a fifteen year old female character in the play wants a better life for herself. She is fearful she will endure the same type of hardship her mother was experiencing.
Aki tells her mother ” I know about them and I dont want to stick around and become the kind of woman you are” (445). Aki believes that a much older man then herself would provide her opportunity to escape the hard work of farming that her mother must do to provide for her and her two brothers. Another form of journey takes place in the movie Sister, Double Happiness, written and directed by Mina Shun, when Jade who yearns to become an actress rebels against her familys morals and traditions. Her wishes to become an actress are extremely Mobley-May 3 unacceptable by her father. Both her parents were constantly trying to persuade her to explore something else.
Jade struggles to find her identity and to fit in. It was unacceptable in this family to move from home before being married and if you did, as in Jades decision to do so, you were disowned and denied a return home. Jade left her family to seek out her dream and her father took her house key from her, so that she would not be able to come home. Asian Americans Literature depicts many forms of journey and they are similar to one another, yet they are individual journeys for themselves. Journey is significant to Asian American literature, because of the desire to succeed and fit in.
This is something that I think everyone wants, whether they are Asian, Hispanic, African American or of any other cultural background. I know that I want to succeed and I want to fit in some where. Goals are important and one must make a journey if they are to reach their goal. The journey does not have to be a physical move from one place to another, it can be a journey of the mind, but indeed a journey must be made. My step-grandmother, who is from the Philippines made several journeys throughout her life and continues to make journeys.
She was educated in the Philippines where she received her teaching degree. She came to the United States where she taught for over thirty years at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California. It was at this school that she received fulfillment in teaching Asian minorities. Her teaching career ended shortly after a shooting that occurred on the play yard where she was Mobley-May 4 scheduled to be on yard duty that day, but had switched with another teacher. This act of violence, that was undisputedly directed at Asians, was her sign that she would retire. It shook our whole family up, that this could or would ever happen right here in our very own town. She now travels the world seeing as many countries and places a year that she can with her husband, who is Caucasian.
The difference she made to the children in that school took nearly a lifetime and I see the joy it has brought to her life. Journeys take many forms and it is an important message conveyed in Asian American literature, because it is something we all must endure to reach our goals. I hope to make many journeys in my life down the road of success, just as those of a minority background do. Journeys, however, are not always for the best and they do not always turn out how they were planned, but it is the journey which makes us stronger and enables us to learn from our mistakes. The message of journey in the Asian American works.