Craig Chin, the first-person narrator of the story, tells of events that are important to him as he finds identity and peace. This occurs on several levels, but the most important of these is his relationship with his father. Both father and son love each other in an unquestioned, unconditional way, yet problems occur because of the father’s insistence that Craig become a sports star. At the same time, Craig experiences severe difficulties because of his birth and ethnicity. On the one hand, he is Chinese by looks and blood; on the other, his way of thinking, his central culture, and his own goals in life are distinctly American. Readers learn of these difficulties and their resolutions through the revelations of the main character’s thoughts and actions.
Calvin Craig, Craig’s father, is the most loving and helpful and understanding of all fathers except for one matter: He is unable to accept that his son will never be any kind of successful athlete. His attitude is revealed primarily through his actions. Always on the sidelines encouraging and advising his son in football and basketball, he fails to realize the torment he is working upon the person in the world whom he loves most. For Calvin himself, sports had been the ticket to acceptance in American life.
Uncle Quail is the stereotypical “last generation” from the Old Country. In one section of the story, Uncle Quail tells of the experiences of his own father’s generation as they built the United States’ railroads and performed other such tasks. Then he explains the discrimination against them that occurred once the rails had been laid. He survives as a...
(The entire section is 677 words.)