Nathan Schultz Blog #5

Island: Poetry and the History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940 tells a little represented story about those who suffered the fallout from the chinese exclusion act. At a place called Angel island thousands were detained for simply trying to travel to america. These people recorded poetry on the walls which is what the book is, a collection of art from those who suffered. One poem I found interesting in it was that it spoke of the happiness of arriving in a new land and the disappointment and anger that followed. 

Because my house had bare walls, I began

rushing all about.

The waves are happy, laughing “Ha-ha!”

When I arrived on Island, I heard I was

forbidden to land.

I could do nothing but frown and feel angry at heaven.

Poems like these among others tell of the struggle of those who had to live in squalor conditions for the only reason that they happen to be chinese. With this poem it also narrates how these immigrants felt while traveling over to america, happiness. The travel and the build up to the new world and the idealist land of opportunity. Instead this joy turned to anger and a drastic change in lifestyle. Other poems also touch on the life on angel island, speaking on the loneliness and struggle of the day to day life living in a detention center. These sets of poems shed an interesting light on the struggles of chinese immigrants to America.

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