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Pau hana : plantation life and labor in Hawaii, 1835-1920

Author: Ronald T Takaki
Publisher: Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press, 1984, ©1983.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : Paperback edView all editions and formats
Summary:
An exciting sequential analysis of the various ethnic peoples who provided plantation labor for the Hawaiian cane fields from the 1860s to the 1920s. Using primary resources, songs, historical tracts, and census data, Takaki brings together the various ethnic perspectives into a cogent account of the history, culture, and economy of sugar cane plantation existence. From early beginnings to the decline of "king
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ronald T Takaki
ISBN: 0824809564 9780824809560 0824808657 9780824808655
OCLC Number: 13847902
Description: xiv, 213 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Responsibility: Ronald Takaki.

Abstract:

An exciting sequential analysis of the various ethnic peoples who provided plantation labor for the Hawaiian cane fields from the 1860s to the 1920s. Using primary resources, songs, historical tracts, and census data, Takaki brings together the various ethnic perspectives into a cogent account of the history, culture, and economy of sugar cane plantation existence. From early beginnings to the decline of "king sugar," Takaki presents the Euroamerican perception of Native Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Norwegians, and Filipinos and attempts to keep the ethnic groups isolated to prevent any unified strike-action against plantation owners' unfair labor practices. Integrated into this history are ethnic viewpoints of contract labor and the treatment they received by their white bosses, creating a well-balanced presentation. From immigration to plantation, the various ethnic groups entertained the idea of permanency in Hawaii, finding a new home for their families and growing in cross cultural understanding.

Pau Hana documents culture retention, transition, and change as Takaki explains the development of Hawaiian pidgin English, plantation economics, social gatherings, religion, and family development. Throughout the story, one becomes involved with the various peoples and the landowners as their experiences unfold. The oppressive labor conditions change. The laborers show strength and ingenuity as they fight management whenever possible. The strength of character and understanding of one's culture crosses ethnic boundaries as the various groups work together for a better living and sense of becoming a part of Hawaii's agricultural economy. Songs and personal diaries create a moving, live portrait of a vital economic and cultural historical period. By illustrating the unique qualities a multicultural perspective brings to an event, Takaki portrays the multiethnic experience. Clearly, Hawaii's history is replete with both ethnic diversity and unity as people exhibit their heritage through cultural iconographies and togetherness in sharing an historical past.

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A scholarly work but as readable as a novel, this is the first history of plantation life as experienced by the laborers themselves. The oppressive round-the-clock conditions under which they worked Read more...

 
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