Helena Grice
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China Men (1980)
in Maxine Hong Kingston
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The original title of Maxine Hong Kingston's second book was not ‘China Men’ but ‘Gold Mountain Heroes’. In Kingston's rendition of the gamut of Chinese American men's experiences on Gold Mountain, literature, history, biography, cartography and law all figure as discourses producing ideas of nationhood. Although Kingston was to discard the title ‘Gold Mountain Heroes’ in a later draft, her original use signals her intention to create a history of her Chinese American male ancestors that both mythologised and celebrated their arrival in America, a place Chinese immigrants named ‘Gold Mountain’; and to commemorate their efforts to bond with their new land and country, and the hard labour they undertook in these endeavours.

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