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Shanghai Girls
by See, Lisa
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1. Pearl is a Dragon and May is a Sheep. Do you think the two sisters, in their actions in the novel, are true to their birth signs?

2. 2. Pearl says that parents die, husbands and children can leave, but sisters are for life. Does that end up being true for Pearl? If you have a sister, to what extent does the relationship between Pearl and May speak to your own experience? What's the difference between a relationship that's just like sisters and a relationship between real sisters?

3. Shanghai Girls makes a powerful statement about the mistreatment of Chinese immigrants in the United States. Were you surprised about any of the details in the novel related to this theme?

4. How would you describe the relationship between Pearl and May? How does the fact that both are, in a sense, Joy's mother affect their relationship? Who loves Joy more and how does she show it?

5. Pearl doesn't come to mother-love easily or naturally. At what point does she begin to claim Joy as her own? How, where, and why does she continue to struggle with the challenges of being a mother? Do you think this is an accurate portrayal of motherhood?

6. What role does place --- Shanghai, Angel Island, China City, and Chinatown --- serve in the novel? What do you think Lisa See was trying to say about home?

Additional discussion questions from: Reading Group Guides
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