Seeing Emily by Joyce Lee Wong (Mod. 5)


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Wong, Joyce Lee. Seeing Emily. Amulet Books: New York, 2005. ISBN 0810957574

Plot Summary:

This is a coming of age novel told in free verse about a girl named Emily Wu, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She is torn between melding her American self and her Chinese heritage.

Critical Analysis:

This novel is very beautiful. It’s a classic coming of age tale about a young girl who desires following her own heart rather than the expectations placed on her by her parents. The writing is very beautiful. It flows very well and the writing is consistent throughout. Imagery is one of Wong’s strengths in this novel. She paints a very beautiful picture of the struggles facing first generations children. She pulls you into the mind of her main character, Emily, and you feel her desires and wants. This is a very beautiful novel that I highly recommend.

Example Poem: 

“At the moment
an image appeared
in my mind,
a bird
molting her feathers,
shaking off her winter garb
and exchanging it
for new plumage,
giddy and bright
as the stirrings
of spring.

A breeze
teases the air,
and the bird stretches her wings,
feeling the tantalizing lift of current
as she poises at the edge
of her nest.

Ready to dive into
the dazzling expanse
of air and light,
the bird envisions herself
soaring higher
and higher until
the very world seems to shrink
beneath the sweep
of her wings.”

This excerpt is found on page 49. I chose this example because it is a perfect representation of the writing in this book, the theme of this book, the tone of this book, and more importantly, the imagery of this book. In this example, you find all of these aspects. I especially like the meaning behind the image of the bird. In this image, you can see and feel Emily’s desperate desire to rid herself of the expectations placed on her by her family. This is a very compelling novel.


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Adrinna Davis

Hello there! Not much to me, I'm just your average author and librarian who is obsessed with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Divergent, ect... who is married with two kids. :) And now blogger. I love children's lit and want to share with you all the amazing books I find!

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