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The Americanizing of Pau Tsu by Sui Sin Far (a Eurasian-American writer) is about the clash of Chinese and English cultures. The story outlines a business man Wan Lin Fo, who is pictured as an intelligent first generation American who was brought to America and raised amid his father's merchant business. Although at heart a Chinaman, Lin Fo adopts the language, dress, and habits of the new culture he is immersed in. He is often complimented for his acculturation, but reveals a secret pity for those not born in China--"The Heavenly Kingdom". He reveals to his white female friend, Adah Raymond, that he is betrothed to Pau Tsu who remains in China. In his revealing this to Adah, Sui Sin Far hints at the taboo of interracial marriage as Adah is at first startled by his announcement of her "moving a love in him" and relieved when he finishes as "for Pau Tsu". The ingrained aversion to interracial marriage maintained as Lin Fo starts off idolizing the American Adah and later wonders why he ever did. Upon Pau Tsu's arrival, Lin Fo attempts to Americanize her and forces many of the customs onto her even though she clearly does not want them. Pau Tsu's suffering under the forced American culture seems at first a statement of the injustice of demanding cultural assimilation so quickly--a clear statement on the American mentality. However, after Pau Tsu leaves Lin Fo and requests a divorce, the opposition is brought up. Adah has been under the impression that Pau Tsu has suffered so greatly from being plunged into American ways so fiercely, she realizes at the very end of the story that Pau Tsu has misunderstood Adah and Lin Fo's relationship because she DOES NOT understand American ways. In China, females do not have male friends. To Pau Tsu, Adah and Lin Fo must have been in love or concubines because she did not understand the American tradition of inter-sex friendships. Thus, The Americanizing of Pau Tsu presents two sides to an argument: #1) Demanding the Americanization of immigrants so quickly is cruel and #2) it is necessary.

This story also has sub motifs of interracial marriage, and the inability to have the best of both worlds. Lin Fo wishes for both a Chinese bride and an American bride, but one comes at the cost of the other. As Pau Tsu grows pale, melancholy, and less herself, she becomes more American, learns more English, and eventually even asks for a divorce--as American a mentality as one can have. In becoming Americanized, her Chinese marital subservience was lost. It also brings up the well-intentioned harm of American ignorance of cultures. Adah always worries for Pau Tsu and tries to defend and help her; ultimately it is Adah presence that makes Pau Tsu feel inferior and Adah's lack of understanding of the Chinese culture which causes her to constantly infringe on Pau Tsu.

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Q: What is Americanizing of Pau Tsu is about?
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