Thursday, 22 September 2011

Spirits of the Railway


“Spirits of the Railway” is a short story that tells us of the first Chinese peasants to leave south China for the New World in the nineteenth century. The Chinese immigrants were mostly men who left their family behind in China.
    In this story, Chu goes to Canada in search of his missing father. Unable to find him, Chu ends up working in a railway construction. Then, the crew and he reach a tunnel that other workers claim is haunted. Finally, he met the “ghost” of his father, who had died while building the railway. His father claims for justice because he cannot rest in peace, his body was thrown into the river, and he did not have a proper burial.
     When the teacher asked us to read the eight collections of “Gold Mountain” about the Chinese people in the nineteenth century, I wondered why we should read that. However, after reading some of them I realized that I came out with a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture and their sufferings. In fact, I consider it a good resource to use in our classes because it could make students aware about universal issues, such as discrimination. We can also discuss different ways of breaking down some prejudices in order to promote peace throughout the world.



  1. Hello Abby. I totally agree with you. "Spirits of the Railway" is a clear example of how through literature we can learn about the different cultures, in this case, Chinese culture. Reading this kind of stories is a very good resource because, as you said, make students aware about universal issues. Besides, they could realize that there are problems that affect us all and what is more, perhaps they could finally understand and accept customs or habits of a different culture. It is vey important for us, future teachers, to take into account this.

  2. Hello Abby and Erin. I strongly agree with your views. This short story (and the others from the book) shows us a different culture that, anyway, may probably share some of its values with ours, as well: the beliefs about death and burials, for instance. Perhaps there are finally not so many differences among us in this world. Apart from this, the stories are not so difficult to read; therefore, I have the same opinion than you as regards the utility of these texts for teaching at schools.

    Blue worm