English

Analysis a character from All That Matters

This paper, which would particularly focus on the representation of Kiam-Kim’s character and how the author develops its importance to the overall plot of the novel, seeks to present his character sketch. Furthermore, this seeks to examine the character in a historical context that will be the basis for formulating an argument and accompanied by supporting evidences from the novel. 2.0 Overview of Kiam-Kim’s character All That Matters unfolds the story of the Kiam-Kim and his entire Chen family who immigrated to Vancouver in the 1930s3. In his entire childhood, Kiam-Kim was confronted with two opposing views where he had to struggle to unify his Chinese and Canadian cultural backgrounds so that he would be able to teach his siblings in making the best out of these two different worlds. The novel filters the protagonist’s character of Kiam-Kim who was only three years old when he arrived in Vancouver along with his father and his grandmother, Poh-Poh. Macdonald further noted that while the experience of the Chen family was assimilated in a distinct neighborhood in a Chinatown village, it was Kiam-Kim who recounted a place that only those people who do not speak any English would survive. However, as the years went by, Kiam-Kim gradually realizes the significance of his position on being the first son of the family. While he initially learns the secrets involving his family, particularly with the mysterious arrival of his stepmother, he also starts to understand the reason why the past and its ghostly elements are always with him4. Since Kiam-Kim’s mother died before he turned two years old, he was eventually taken care of by his grandmother, Poh-Poh until his father got hold of a concubine in order to lessen the tasks faced by Poh-Poh. Regardless of the fact that she is referred by the children as the concubine, she was still accepted in the family as their stepmother. As Kiam became use to living in a Canadian society, he followed his father around the community, wherein later on he became close friends to his Irish neighbor, a boy named Jack O’ Connor. He also had an evolving friendship with Jenny Chong who became his love interest during his teenage years. Donaldson further remarked that while Kiam grows older, his grandmother’s idiosyncrasies have lesser impact on him, as opposed to when he was younger, where he would rather settle to his adopted home. 3.0 Representation of Kiam-Kim’s character Kiam-Kim represents a character that shows strong determination in fulfilling his duties to protect his siblings and obey his elders5. Moreover, he portrays a personality whose desire is to teach his siblings that literal truths are not merely confined within their grandmother’s superstitious stories and tales. Green further describes Kiam-Kim’s character as a responsible, caring, and dedicated to his family. However, what lies beneath its casual composure are the tensions between the old ways in China as well in the conflict to that of Gold Mountain ways in Canada6. Although from the author’s perspective, it can be observed that Choy’s approach does not appear to shun from illustrating the racist nature that characterizes the events that took place at the onset of the 20th century in Canada7. Such characteristics can be reflected in the way Chinese workers were maltreated, suffered dreadful

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