Anna May Wong was a Chinese American actress. She is largely forgotten these days. I first read of her perhaps eight or ten years go on this Forum.
It is her name in Chinese that left me with an indelible image. It is loud, original, and evokes a picture of a tortured figure who cannot extricate herself. She is trapped by her name. Her life story is a minor tragedy.
As the Wiki article stated, Anna May Wong's Chinese name means Willow Frost. Picture if you will a wintry scene of a willow tree heavily weighed down by snow and frost. It is beautiful as it is bleak as the tree is beholden to the elements. In her case she was hostage to overt racism and stereotyping. She was not even considered for the lead role of Pearl Buck's heroine in The Good Earth.
The Chinese decide on a name very carefully, with considerable thought into its implications.
As I see it, Anna May Wong's fate was sealed by her namesake. Willow trees do survive severe winters . But she was not allowed to have her spring and summer for her to bloom and grow.
For Anna May, hers was a perpetual winter with no respite. Her willowy-like beauty is confined to winter, Anna May could not unburden herself, free herself from the society norms of her times. She did not get her moment in the sun.
Last Edit: Feb 16, 2017 7:37:10 GMT -5 by douglaslam