The Chinese one child policy has left generations of female children abandoned, questioning their identities and left them with the question of ‘Who am I?’ when they grow up. The book Throwaway Daughter explains in depth how growing up knowing you are abandoned affects your identity. By Bronte Alexander Source: Throwaway Daughter by Ting-Xe Ye
The novel explains very well through the main character Grace Dong-mei Parker, on how she felt growing up thinking that she was adopted because her family did not want her. With this knowledge she struggled with her identity not knowing. Thinking that if her Chinese family didn’t want her, she wanted nothing to do with her Chinese roots and she definitely didn’t want anything to do with her birth family. When Grace rejected her Chinese origins, she then starts questioning her identity. And how being abandoned left her without knowing her birthday, where she came from and how her birth parents looked like. Grace hated her Chinese parents because left her on the steps of orphanage as a baby, with a small piece of paper saying her birth mothers name Chein-mei and the name of which should would like Grace be called Dong-mei. But grace disliked that name, I think because it reminded her of the fact that she was abandoned by them.
Her adoptive parents made a promise to the lady at the orphanage that she would remind grace as she grow up of her heritage. He parents despairingly attempted to get grace into her Chinese culture by taking her to Chinese restaurants, taking her to lessons to learn Chinese and calling her by her Chinese name Dong-mei. But Grace rejects their efforts because she believes she was unwanted by her birth family.
When she 9 year old she unexpectedly sees the Tiananmen Square massacre on TV, which interests her in her Chinese roots. And makes her questions her father if he thinks Chun-mei (her birth mother) is safe after seeing the violent images from Beijing.
Grace begins to take an interest in her mother’s wellbeing, saying "It was the first time I had said the name Chun-mei without anger." (Page 84, line 21.) This then again make the main character grace to question her identity.
With this new found interest in her identity she finds out that she was one of the thousands of infant girls abandoned in China since the Communist government introduced the one-child policy, which the government strictly enforced. She realised that she was one of the lucky ones, adopted as a baby by a loving Canadian family.
As she grow her interest in finding out about if she was one of those thousand infant girls abandoned because of the one child policy. She becomes more interested in her Chinese roots. When she is 20 grace travels to China to attend business school, and seek her…