Kindred Spirits in “Hong Kong Nights” by Renford Reese

Marshawn is an African native who grew up in poverty. One of the unusual plot twists in this novel is that he is invited to Hong Kong by his uncle. His appearance is described as “darker than brown skin.” Marshawn grew up in a dangerous neighborhood in Los Angeles, where gang violence is common. Still, he was different from the other community members because he did not drink alcohol or smoke weed, and he studied, which gave him a chance to move to a better area and have a life different from that of a typical gang member. Hence, Marshawn is a non-typical representative of an African-American living in a disadvantaged community because he strives to study and put in the effort to have a better life.

The staggering difference between Marshawn and Cassy is one of the important characteristics of this novel since it shows the collision of two different personalities. Cassy is an art student who grew up in a wealthy Honk Kong family. In contrast to Marshawn, she has never seen the violence or was attacked on the streets of her hometown. Instead, she had a peaceful life and chose to study art. She studies at a prestigious university in Hong Kong and has a bright future ahead of her. Moreover, Cassy has a fiancé who, however, is not fond of her interest in arts and sculpture. Hence, Cassy is a typical representative of a wealthy Hong Kong heiress who enjoys the benefits of a privileged life.

Despite the dramatic difference in the appearance of the two characters due to their ethnicity and social class, Marshawn and Cassy are kindred spirits. This is because they are both fonds of art; for example, Marshawn chooses to work as a janitor at an art museum to be closer to the artworks, and Casey chose art as her degree major. This shows that there are universal things that can unite people despite the difference in their background or skin color. Hence, despite the many differences between Cassy and Marshawn, they are kindred spirits because of their interest in the arts. Both choose to pursue art as a career, despite others regarding it as a bad choice. Cassy’s fiancé, for example, views her interest in sculpture as a bad choice. One of the primary reasons why these characters connect and feel attraction to each other is because they share a passion.

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