Behind the Real and the Fake: Examining the Chinese Elements and American Values in Frank Chin and Maxine Hong Kingston

Author:Wenshu Zhao Time:2019-07-09 Click:

The Chineseness of Chinese American literature is often assumed to be an unquestionable premise, but Chinese American writers are in fact ambivalent toward Chinese culture. By revisiting Frank Chin’s persistent accusation of other Chinese American writers’ “faking” of Chinese culture, this paper examines the changing attitudes of Chinese American writers toward Chinese culture and the quintessential Americanness of Chinese American writings. Through a comparative analysis of the Chinese elements in the texts of Frank Chin and Maxine Hong Kingston, it is argued that the kind of culture in Chinese American literature is an indigenous American product with a Chinese-sounding name invented to survive America and therefore should be properly called (Chinese) American culture. In Chinese American literature, the Chinese elements are employed instrumentally as empowering ethnic markers to fortify the American cultural values at the core of this ethnic American culture.

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