“[W]ith a similar result: It blew up in his face”:
Harte had another reason to regret the poem: Many readers missed the ironic tone, interpreting the parable as a sincere endorsement of anti-Chinese racism. A pirated edition of the poem published in Chicago made this painfully clear. It featured drawings of a slant-eyed Ah Sin getting attacked by a mob of whites, without an ounce of irony.
This was only the beginning.