How wrong I had been to assume this feeling had been lost forever. One week later, tucked into a double bed sheathed with red flannel, Deming Guo awoke with the crumbs of dialect on his tongue, smudges and smears of dissolving syllables, nouns and verbs washed out to sea. When Deming is unsure at the end of the novel where he should live—whether he should stay in China or return to the United States—he has the liberating realization that his two cultural identities can coexist. Themes and Colors Key. After a week of living with them, Deming’s linguistic connection to Chinese culture shifts. In turn, Ko illustrates that—though he has embraced his identity as Daniel Wilkinson—he hasn’t forgotten about his connection to Chinese culture. “The Leavers” is a novel about racial identity, immigration and lost souls, with a touch of musical spirit. Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in, Compare and contrast themes from other texts to this theme…, The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Cultural Identity and Belonging appears in each chapter of. They’re fat, or their parents don’t have a lot of money.”, “That’s true,” Kay said. The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty is a short war story. Rather than focusing on how to help Deming preserve his original sense of self, Peter and Kay obsess about getting him to “adapt” to his new environment. Self-Deception and Rationalization. The following artworks all delve into the theme of identity, either as an individual or as a group. Too obvious to the boys who wanted to mock him, yet girls would only notice him when he was walking around with his fly down. The night had confirmed his failures, and he’d freed himself from having to fight his inability to live up to Peter and Kay’s hopes. Daniel’s muscles contracted. Rather than fully entrenching himself in the life of a white American family, he thinks of himself as living two different realities—one as Deming and one as Daniel. In high school, kids said they never thought of him as Asian or Roland as Mexican, like it was a compliment. -Graham S. Daniel and Angel’s friendship emerges once more as one of the only genuine forms of support in Daniel’s life. My life felt like a confection, something I had once yearned for, but sometimes I still wanted to torch it all over again, change my name again, move to another city again, rent a room in a building where nobody knew me. “One week later, tucked into a double bed sheathed with red flannel, Deming Guo awoke with the crumbs of dialect on his tongue, smudges and smears of dissolving syllables, nouns and verbs washed out to sea,” Ko writes, suggesting that even just one week in this new environment has already had an effect on Deming, who’s forced to experience the slow dissolution of everything he’s known. Leavers will not thank politicians for Brexit, not with the passion and persistence of the remainers who will punish them for it. “I’m not going to say it’ll be easy,” said Peter. At the same time, he lived with his Chinese mother for eleven years before moving to Ridgeborough, meaning that his identity has been shaped by both Chinese and American cultural forces. Teachers and parents! He hadn’t been able to do what Roland wanted either, play the music Roland wanted him to play. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Leavers, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Although developing a multifaceted identity can be complicated, Ko doesn’t see this divide as inherently problematic. “For now, this was where his life would be,” Ko writes. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our. (As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that Ko never specifies why Angel tries to end her own life, nor does she provide enough information about her to help readers understand why she might do such a thing.) This is true for Deming, who struggles to maintain his Chinese identity when he’s adopted by a white family in the wake of his mother’s vanishing. ” —Bustle “Touching upon themes such as identity, determination, addiction, and loyalty, the author clearly shows readers that she is an emerging writer to watch. In doing so, he refuses to acknowledge the fact that he’s making reckless choices. He recalled how she and Peter had insisted on English, his new name, the right education. He felt a savage euphoria. Once again, readers see how unwilling Daniel is to recognize the overarching narrative of his gambling addiction. From here, he begins playing with significant amounts of money, having gradually worked his way up to this point. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, LitCharts uses cookies to personalize our services. He doesn’t have to choose between them. It’s unsurprising, then, that he doesn’t want to see her again, clearly resenting her for so willingly putting him in the permanent care of strangers. It’s worth keeping in mind that Daniel has had no connection to his previous life for the past ten years. Rather than using money responsibly, he continues to make risky bets. What it boils down to is this: Holmes says that life is stranger than anything a person could make up (this is funny because, of course, Holmes's "evidence" that truth is weirder than fiction is a story … Jacob Wilkinson.”. The fact that Daniel goes to Vivian’s house after having so vehemently declined the invitation at first is a sign that he can’t resist the opportunity to reconnect with his past. His best home.” The fact that Ko refers to New York—a multicultural center—as Deming’s “best” home indicates that a person can belong to many different cultures. “Ridgeborough had made Daniel an expert at juggling selves,” Ko writes, explaining what Deming is like ten years after moving to the suburbs. Daniel pressed his spoon into his soup again. Staying upstate. In this section, Ko outlines how a person gets hooked on gambling. “[H]e used to see Deming and think himself into Daniel, a slideshow perpetually alternating between the same two slides.” In this moment, readers see that transitioning into a new cultural identity doesn’t necessarily mean erasing one’s original persona. Some might argue that identity is fixed by a person's genetic makeup. “One language had outseeped another,” Ko adds, emphasizing the influence of cultural isolation on children like Deming. In the end, he hadn’t been able to do what Peter and Kay wanted. Identity can also be affected by decision making, namely political and religious affiliations, a chosen group of friends or a community, or through adoption of certain fashions. Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in, Racism, Cultural Insensitivity, and Implicit Bias. But his descent into debt doesn’t happen all at once, but little by little. Instant downloads of all 1377 LitChart PDFs Peilan (Polly) Guo grew up in a poor village (Minjiang) in a poor province in China.