Identity Formation and Cosmopolitan Vision in Asian-American Literature

Author:Anfeng Sheng, Seon-Kee Kim Time:2019-07-09 Click:

Asian-American literature is often identified as foreign by Asians and considered inauthentic American literature by the American mainstream. However, this minority group literature is unique in its characteristics so that it cannot be easily judged by either Asian or American norms. In order to better understand Asian-American literature, it is necessary to study how the members of Asian immigrant communities tend to form their own unique identities as Asian-Americans and to examine their literature using a new prism in light of cosmopolitanism, and not with any of the conventional perspectives. Identity formation has never been easy and natural for the bewildered and suffering Asian immigrants in the United States of America, especially for the second generation. Through the study of the Korean-American writer Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker and the Chinese-American writer Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, we hope to explore the possibilities and impossibilities in cultural and social identification represented in those works. Our study clearly reveals that the social and psychological conflicts that Asian immigrants experience are frequently projected on the works of the immigrant writers. A cosmopolitan prospect is often envisioned in their works as a way out for both the locals and the diasporas in today’s increasingly globalized world.

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