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Disappearing Moon Café by SKY Lee

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					Disappearing Moon Café by SKY Lee
  1. Kae’s desire to write her family’s history coincides with the birth of her first
     child. Why might this event trigger her wish to learn more about the women in
     her family? What effect does the child’s birth have on Kae’s mother? How is it
     linked to previous births of children in the extended family?

  2. At one point, Kae reflects ruefully on the “Wonged women” of her family’s last
     several generations. To what extent does Lee portray the women of the family as
     victims of male oppression? In what situations do the women express agency and
     initiative?

  3. The tangled family history is described in the family tree that appears facing the
     Table of Contents. What does the family tree reveal about the paternity of
     Morgan and Suzanne, and of Beatrice and Keeman?

  4. Can you interpret the Chinese characters on the novel’s title page? If you cannot,
     do you feel that you are missing part of the story?

  5. The Prologue, “Search for Bones,” deals with an important chapter of Chinese
     Canadian history. What role did Chinese workers play in the construction of the
     CPR? Why does the Chinese Benevolent Association wish to collect the bones of
     the dead?

  6. The novel does not progress in a chronological or linear manner; instead, much
     like The Green Library, it proceeds in fits and starts, and we gradually learn
     details about the lives of a large cast of characters from several generations of this
     family. What is the effect of the juxtapositions of multiple time-frames and
     characters? Do you find the novel more challenging to read because of these
     shifts? Do you find the narrative method effective in conveying this complex
     story?

  7. Characters in the novel mention several measures that are enacted by the federal
     government to limit Chinese immigration, including the “new Chinese Exclusion
     Act” (30). What were the measures of this act? What is the contemporary
     motivation for seeking redress (financial compensation and/or an official apology)
     for this historical discrimination?

  8. What other kinds of racial discrimination are the Chinese in Canada subject to in
     Lee’s novel? Does Chinatown offer them a safe haven?

  9. The unsolved murder of Janet Smith is incorporated into Lee’s novel. Why does
     the author elect to use an actual historical event in her fiction? In historical terms,
     what were the consequences of this murder for the Chinese Canadian community?
     How does Lee portray the effect on the community?

				
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posted:8/13/2011
language:English
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