I am having problem understanding a first sentence in second paragraph. I can understand it superficially but it is a metaphor and I cannot figure out what it the really means. I appreciate your help in advance.
"Lum closes his volume with a poem that further points to the complex relationships between heritage and local culture in determining one’s identity. Pulling together images and figures as vastly disparate as a famous Chinese American literary character and an old woman selling bread,Lum avoids an excessively romantic vision of U.S.culture, while simultaneously acknowledging the dream of this culture held by many newly arrived immigrants.
The central image of a communal pot where each person chooses what she or he wishes to eat but shares with others the “sweet soup / spooned out at the end of the meal”is a hopeful one; however,it also appears to caution that the strong cultural emphasis in the U.S.on individual drive and success that makes retaining a sense of homeland tradition difficult should be identified and responded to in ways that allow for a healthy new sense of identity to be formed."