The sourness of living where dignity is flushed and third and fourth degree works(which in America they do not accept to deal with and leave to women to do) was the only was to find a means of living to survive. Thus the laundry business ran by Maxine's father when he was kicked out of the business of gambling. As children from Chinese immigrants, Maxine did not understand the relation between myth and reality and talk-stories were a way to sense the factuelles and weave a mentality that could help her understand America and become American yet not forgetting her heritage of Chinese background.
A journey of sufferings does not stop at the point where problems concerning finance stops but extends to the beloved ones who suffer in silence besides the person and try to find a way out of it. Being a man responsible for a family, Maxine's father was in the place of a woman when dealing with the American society(now he has to obey the father when yet unmarried(illegal immigrants),obey the husband when married(the legal laws and registration of legal papers),obedience to the sons when widowed(the happiness of father when he planted his plants in the garden a steady and slow into the future of the family ,remembering the suffering he was suffering when out of a job.).Yet the ethics of a woman in a male society where immigrants were not seen as unwelcomed beings drove the family to work in the 'third-grade' industries -the laundry. The work being hard and tiring, the father was experiencing the problem of facing reality through a woman's eyes (whether he saw or did not see or realize this).
China men is a story about growing up in a Chinese background in American reality with a family to support, from the point of view of Maxine who had no access
Chinese realities but what she sees in reality as a child surrounding the family and working on. As seen for sure, the reality was harsh and the fact that women were unpreferable to men made Maxine want to prove herself and thus conflicted inside her with herself as to the fact if she would ever become a pride in the family and to it when ever growing up in America with her strict and unbent mother from Chinese heritage. Brave Orchid was the motive for Maxine to grow up into a strong character and she recited the story from the point of view of her male relatives and especially her father's because she understood that understanding someone from a different gender and being in their shoes made her understand the factuality and beliefs she carried on in life.
China Men is in fact a biography of the father and an autobiography of Maxine's feelings and point of view of life through her father's stories from his living reality. Life was harsh and getting legal registration of documents and facing racism in America for Chinese people who came poor from their countries doing their best to be better in the land of the golden mountains of gold made he see what reality is truly like from someone who is far away from home, estranged and widowed having nobody to support them. Yet their happy times did not fade away as they were able to recollect their shattering