Hawaii underwent many changes during the nineteenth century with the transfer of sovereignty and power to the United States. This was a long process that began with the first missionaries from New England who sailed to Hawaii on a quest to spread Christianity in 1820. Discussions and debates took place, treaties were drafted, and political groups and organizations formed to either support or oppose annexation. The Newlands Resolution of 1898 resulted in the annexation of Hawaii. After annexation, a transition period took place. During this time the Organic Act was established and many new laws went into effect. The natives of Hawaii experienced many changes, but never became completely Americanized. Hawaii was different from any other territory of the United States due to its location, diversity, and large Asiatic population.
Cathy Song illustrates the diversity of Hawaii. A native of Hawaii with a Korean and Chinese background, Song has written three volumes of poetry: Picture Bride, Frameless Windows Squares of Light, and School Figures. Her poems are filled with symbolism of family, customs, and nature, that all represent her multicultural upbringing. Song uses experiences from her past and the past of her family members and ancestors to tell her own personal story. Song makes many connections between the past and present to show how traditions are passed down in her culture. Through Song’s poems she describes characteristics of family, customs, and nature, that make her family and culture unique.
Photo credit: http://ppl.nhmccd.edu/~dcox/ohenry/catsong.html