Seeking identity between worlds : a study of selected Chinese American fiction
The literature of the Chinese diaspora in America is marked by a tension between ancestral Chinese traditional culture and the modernity of Western culture. This thesis explores diaspora theory, as elaborated by Stuart Hall, Homi Bhabha, Gabriel Sheffer and others to establish a framework for the analysis of key Chinese American literary works. Maxine Hong Kingston's seminal novel, The Woman Warrior (1975), will be analysed as an exemplary instance of diasporic identity, where the Chinese cultural heritage is reinterpreted and re-imagined from the point of view of an emancipated woman living in the West. A comparative analysis will be undertaken of Jade Snow Wong's The Fifth Chinese Daughter (1950) and Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club (1989) to identify links between the writers who have grappled with various forms of diasporic identity in their works. An important part of this analysis is the representation and adaptation of Chinese folklore and traditional tales in Chinese American literary works.