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View Diary: Gay Marriage in John Steinbeck's East of Eden (52 comments)

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  •  Lee's femininity: he has a ponytail too! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mythatsme, bigjacbigjacbigjac, DvCM

    Steinbeck makes a big deal about the pony tail. When I read the book, I thought of the pony tail as a political statement of Lee's, kinda saying "Hey, I'm Chinese, get used to it!" Now I think of Gavin Newsome saying "get used to it" and see maybe Lee's ponytail was something else.
    Thank you for pointing out the obvious to us.

    Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. Satchel Paige 1906-82

    by threesmommy on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 01:04:59 PM PST

    •  If I'm not mistaken (7+ / 0-)

      the pony tail is indicative of an abiding identification with being Chinese, since one couldn't return to China without one. To cut off one's pigtail would have been to declare the intention of never returning to one's homeland.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 01:31:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, please... The "ponytail" was a queue... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, 57andFemale

      Worn by all Chinese men.

      The queue was a specific male hairstyle worn by the Manchus from central Manchuria and later imposed on the Han Chinese during the Qing dynasty.  The hairstyle consisted of the hair on the front of the head being shaved off above the temples every ten days and the rest of the hair braided into a long pigtail.
      *
      The hairstyle was compulsory on all males and the penalty for not having it was execution as it was considered treason.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      "... pointing out the obvious to us..."  Please speak for yourself.

      This diary is a bit of a stretch... Obviously one who looks for double-meanings, etc. will find them.

      Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by ceebee7 on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 03:43:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lee rebelliously wore the queue in the US (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mythatsme, bigjacbigjacbigjac

        That's how the book presented it. That's why I wrote "get used to it." Lee wore the queue to his own detriment, it marked him as different and probably cost him the status of assimilation.

        Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. Satchel Paige 1906-82

        by threesmommy on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 05:46:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the point (0+ / 0-)

          By wearing the queue he was refusing assimilation. He was affirming that he remained a subject of China. It would have had nothing whatever to do with provincial notions of masculinity and femininity then current in the US.

          Now in order to indict Steinbeck for bigotry based on this detail, you'd have to believe that he was ignorant of the facts and/or demonstrate that he portrayed Lee as a two dimensional stereotype rather than a fully realized personality. Can you do that?

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:35:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Lee said it himself (0+ / 0-)

            That whites expected him to speak pigin English, shuffle and wear a queue. If he didn't they did not hear him. The Chinese version of "shuck and jive". Didn't he cut off the queue and buy a Western suit after Samuel died? Sort of a homage to the one person who saw him as a man.

            •  How does the fact (0+ / 0-)

              that Lee recognized the racism around him and was frank about his strategies for coping with it, square with the idea that his portrayal reflects popular "white" racial assumptions of the time? If he was putting one over on the white folks rather than expressing a presumed innate "Chineseness" wouldn't that actually undermine the whole racist conception of what it meant to be Chinese?

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:57:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Oops (0+ / 0-)

          its late and I'm tired. I conflated my response to you with entirely different comment. The remarks about proving bigotry are out of place.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:39:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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