Tigers in Chinese History and Culture: Background information when reading How Much of These Hills Is Gold

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How Much of These Hills Is Gold

A Novel

by C Pam Zhang

How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang X
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2020, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2021, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

Tigers in Chinese History and Culture

This article relates to How Much of These Hills Is Gold

Chinese god of wealth Tsai Shen Yeh riding a tigerIn C Pam Zhang's How Much of These Hills Is Gold, signs of and references to tigers consistently appear around its characters, although they are presumed to be in the American West where (at least in the real world) native tigers don't exist. For example, Lucy, the main character, mentions that her mother draws a tiger in the doorway of every new home when they arrive. Late in the book, there are rumors about a tiger roaming around the frontier town where Lucy lives. Paw prints that seem like they could belong to tigers randomly appear. While Zhang's novel never explicitly states that Lucy and her family are of Chinese ancestry, this is heavily implied through linguistic and cultural elements of which the tiger references are a part.

Historically, tigers have great significance in Chinese culture and the cultures of many other nations in Asia. The tiger has played a major role in symbolism, mythology, beliefs and medicine throughout the Asian continent for millennia. Considering ...

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