Monday, November 5, 2012

November 2012: Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang

We will be meeting at Chandra's house (1431 Wilson Street W, Ancaster...NEW phone # 905-304-9059) on Thursday, November 8th.  Doors open at 7:30, discussion to begin at 8:00 sharp.

Please sign up for a menu item by commenting on this post, and Chandra will update the menu in the post as items are claimed.


Discussion Questions

1.  Did you enjoy the book?  Why or why not?

2.  The way a non-fiction book is written can impact a reader’s enjoyment and understanding of it.  What did you think of the way Chang wrote this book?  Did the writing catch your interest, or make you lose interest in what could otherwise have been an interesting subject?  Did you like the way Chang used her own family’s story as the pivot point?

3.  How did Chang’s family compare to the modern day migrant?  Similarities?  Differences?

4.  Why do you think Chang avoided exploring her own family history?  In the end, how does she feel about her history?

5.  Chang refers often to the “Chinese character”.  What is it?  What do you think would be the general reaction if a non-Chinese author suggested that some of these events were caused by the “Chinese character”?  Is Chang a racist?

6.  Did the book make you more aware of and knowledgeable about the issue of factory workers in China?  Did you have any earlier opinions on this topic that have been changed by the reading of this book?

7.  What were some of the migrants’ biggest concerns?  Which of these were positive developments and which were negative?

8.  How did migration change the power structure in the family?  Can you think of other situations that might change this power structure?

9.  Migrancy also changed the power structure between men and women.  Use one of the migrant girl’s stories as an example of how men and women relate differently.

10. Which migrant’s story did you enjoy the most or feel most connected to?  Why?

11.  Did any specific passages strike you as significant/interesting/profound/amusing/ illuminating/disturbing/sad?

12.  Many of the migrants deal with the difficulties of their situation by learning to rely only on themselves.  Do you think this is an effective coping strategy?  What else could they have done?

13.  How do the migrants feel about home when they are away?  What about when they return?

14.  How would you have handled being a migrant, or would you have been one of the few who stay home?

15. What have you learned from reading this book?  Has it broadened your perspective about a difficult societal and/or ethical issue?
Suggested Menu
Noodle soup  (Sherrie)
Stir-fried veggies (we have an electric wok here)   (Amanda)
Braised fish   (use a firm white-fleshed fish, such as halibut, pickerel or striped bass)      
White rice (steamed?) for with the braised fish
Boiled eggs   (Karen)
Steamed Chocolate Pound cake  (pound cake is traditionally steamed in China)  (Alisha)  (Tessa)
Fruit smoothies  (we have a very good blender here for these)   (Melissa)


  1. I won't be coming, as I still haven't managed to get my hands on a copy of the book. Enjoy!

  2. I can bring the stir fry veggies :)

  3. I will bring stuff for smoothies:)Anyone have a great smoothie recipe?

  4. I will do my best with the Steamed Chocolate Pound Cake! :o) I've never tried to steam a cake before!

  5. Oh - I just sent an email saying I would bring chocolate cake, and then I see Alisha beat me to it. I'll search for an alternate recipe and try this too. :-)

  6. Oh - I found a chocolate chinese 5 spice cake. I'll bring that!!

  7. One can never have too much chocolate cake, Tessa! :o)


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