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Retell, Relate, Reflect-White Jade Tiger


White Jade Tiger is a historical-fiction novel, which takes place in Western British Columbia in the late 1800’s.  It’s amazing adventures, suspense and connection with Canadian history makes White Jade Tiger impossible to put down. 


Jasmine, a young girl living in Sooke, B.C., starts having dreams about Bright Jade: a young Chinese woman who lived a long time ago.  She tries to learn what these dreams mean, and why she’s having them.  Then, after passing through a doorway in Chinatown, she goes back in time to the 1880’s. Jasmine meets Keung, a Chinese boy who immigrated to Canada to find his father whom came to work on the CPR but more importantly, has possession of the white jade tiger.  This white jade tiger was created for Bright Jade’s tomb but was stolen and Keung’s father found it.  After deciding to keep it, a curse fell upon him, and his family.  Now, Keung must return the white jade tiger to Bright Jade’s tomb to end this curse.  Blue-Scar Wong, a merchant in Victoria’s Chinatown, also was looking for the white jade tiger and then hoping to sell it for money.   Jasmine and Keung develop a friendship while searching the towns and cities of British Columbia.  Along the way, they got jobs to get money, and met many different people.  In a tunnel working on the CPR, an explosion knocks out Keung and Jasmine and they get separated for a few days.  Then, after reuniting, they luckily find Keung’s father, Chan Sam, hiding in the bushes very ill. The next day, Chan Sam hands his son the white jade tiger, he dies and told Keung to mark his remains and send them back to China.  Blue-Scar Wong was meanwhile watching all of this and after Jasmine and Keung were walking back through a railway tunnel, Blue-Scar Wong appeared.  After Keung refused to give away the white jade tiger, he slowly inserted a sword into Keung’s neck.  As Keung was about to scream where the white jade tiger was hidden, Jasmine wrestled with Blue-Scar Wong and eventually pushed him in front of the train tracks as a train came.  The white jade tiger was retrieved and Jasmine returned into her own time.  But Jasmine didn’t want to go just yet. There were a lot of unanswered questions so Jasmine went back in time but now the year was 1902.  She found out that Keung turned his back on the prophecy about the white jade tiger so being disappointed; she went back to her time.  But wait a minute, she felt something sewed in her Chinese clothes.  Taking it out, it was the white jade tiger! Jasmine was planning to go to China and decided to place the tiger at Bright Jade’s tomb.    


I can relate to the book White Jade Tiger in many ways.  In a history class, I learned about the Chinese who came to Canada and work on the Canadian Pacific Railway.  Many came in search of a promised fortune and a lot of land but they were not welcome in Canada and many died during the dangerous work.  I can also relate to how the Chinese felt when the arrived in Canada.  I felt like that when I was young and entering a new school.   This book also reminds me of a typical Hollywood movie where the villain wants something of great value but can not have it and then resort to extreme measures.  But, like always, the good guys won and the villain didn’t get anything.  This book also reminded me of the women’s discrimination presentation.  Just like women in the 1800’s the Chinese were discriminated.  The head tax for Chinese entering Canada was $50, then increased to $100, and finally $500.  It was in 1949 when Chinese in British Columbia were given the right to vote. As well, it took until 1967 until Chinese immigration placed an equal basis with other nationalities.  Finally, this book reminded me of the Joe Mah video that we saw in Communications class. It showed how the Chinese were not accepted into Canada and how they couldn’t afford to bring their families to Canada after the head tax was increased.


There is a lot that I am wondering and still thinking about in the book.  For one, when Aunt Val said that Jasmine’s great-great grandfather was Chinese, could it have been Keung?  That would explain why Jasmine and her mother had dreams about Bright Jade. Also it makes sense because we know that Keung did stay in Canada so his children and grandchildren would be Canadian. If Keung was related to Jasmine, and the curse still haunted their family, could it have been responsible for Jasmine’s mother dying in the car accident?  Also, I believe that Jasmine’s father did know that she was part Chinese as he was very anxious for her to come to China.           


Overall, I believe that this book was written very effectively.  The whole storyline was very creative and interesting.  But because this type of story did not personally interest me, I enjoyed it less.  Considering everything relevant, I would rate this book 7.5 on a ten point scale.

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Last modified: May 23, 2001