Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 4 April 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S.M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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Amy Tan and Chinese American Literature

Sushil Mary Mathews, Ph.D.

Identifying American Asian Literature

The term 'Asian American' is in use since the late 1960's and it includes people from diverse national origins like the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, East Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian and Pacific Islanders. The term 'Asian American' is intrinsically complex. It embraces all the contending sociopolitical and cultural forces that affect the daily life of the Asian Americans. This semiotic status of the term 'Asian American' shapes the understanding of Asian American literature.

Frank Chin and his co-editors limited their selections to three subgroups - Chinese, Japanese and Filipino, for inclusion in their Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian - American Writers (1974) whereas the editors of Home to Stay - Asian American Women's Fiction (1990), Sylvia Watanabe and Carol Bruchac, have included the works of Korean and Asian Indian writers. King-Kok Cheung and Stan Yogi chose a non-prescriptive approach in their, Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography (1988), where they list works of writers of Asian descent, who had settled in the United States or Canada, regardless of where they were born.

In her book, Reading Asian American Literature - From Necessity to Extravagance, (1993) Sau-ling Cynthia Wong says that the diversity of perception, is a "result of Asian American literature's inter-discursivity in history and in contemporary life" (8).

Asian American literature ensures that the voices of the Asian American are heard, and their experiences interpreted. It proves the power of literature to break through barriers of culture and national boundaries.

The Chinese Americans

It is estimated that the Chinese Americans number more than 2.3 million (Schaefer 2006: 334). The Chinese were the first Asians to migrate to America. The severe drought that destroyed the crops in the Canton province in 1847 - 1850 led to the massive influx of labourers to build the transcontinental railroad in the 1860's. In 1882 the United States Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act, which, among other things, prevented the formation of Chinese families in the United States. Since they intended eventually to return to China and also because of the enormous expense of the journey most men left their families behind. The long and arduous separation often threatened the family unit and made life difficult on both sides of the Pacific.

The men were busy labouring eighteen to twenty hours a day to earn their livelihood and were also troubled by their White tormentors and immigration officials. The women who were left behind had to shoulder the responsibilities alone and a few who risked journeying alone to the United States were either kidnapped or sold to prostitution. The effects of this were not reversed till the Immigration laws in 1965.

Spread of Chinese Americans

'Chinese American' is a term of recent coinage used to refer to the persons of Chinese ancestry residing permanently in the United States. In 1915, the Chinese-American Citizens Alliance was founded to protect their civil rights, and this also indicated the psychological shift of commitment and the importance of the American part in Chinese American.

Much of the creative energy had been consumed in the breaking away from Chinatowns, where the Chinese had all huddled together in the beginning, and the rest had been devoted to the pursuit of middle class American values - financial and social status.

The predominantly male labourers and the poorly educated peasants were engrossed in supporting their families left behind in Southern China. The gender- imbalanced bachelor societies in Chinatowns experienced physical and psychological hardships which were coupled with limited schooling, and this did not favour artistic creation.

Later as they developed, there was no dearth of Chinese- American doctors, lawyers and engineers, but writers were few.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

The Influence of First Language Grammar (L1) on the English Language (L2) Writing of Tamil School Students: A Case Study from Malaysia | Economic Hardship and Emotional Humiliation in Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable | Effects of Using Urdu Dictionary as a Teaching Tool for Teaching Urdu in Urdu Language Classroom in Pakistan | Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Mizo, a Tonal Language | Racism and the American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men | Stimulating Language Strategies through Thinking - Help for Slow Learners | Masses as the True Makers of History - Analysis of the Play The Trial of Dedan Mimathi | Personal and Labour Market Environment Factors in English for Employability: A Case Study of KSA | A Study of the Reported Language Skill Development Strategies of the Student Teachers in Pakistan | Strategies for Communication Skills Development | Schema in Learning | Achieving Professional Goals: Use of a Mixed Discourse in Interviews | The Reality in Langston Hughes' Poems | Techniques to Teach Vocabulary to Regional Medium Students | Life History of Buddha as Reflected in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha | Technique as Voyage of Discovery: A Study of the Techniques in Dante's Paradiso | Some Gaps in the Current Studies of Reading in Second/Foreign Language Learning | Unmasking Student Competence: Using Computers to Teach Writing | Feminist Literary Criticism | Amy Tan and Chinese American Literature | An Acoustic Analysis of Glottal Fricative [h] at Word Medial and Final Positions:
A Comparison between Regular and Non-regular Urdu Speakers of Pakistan
| Teaching Writing Skills | Self-esteem of Institutionalised Elderly Women in Coimbatore - A Case History | An Assessment on Women's Work Participation and Economic Equality | Economics of Crime : A Comparative Analysis of the Socio-Economic Conditions of Convicted Female and Male Criminality in Selected Prisons in Tamil Nadu | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF APRIL 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of April 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Sushil Mary Mathews, Ph.D.
Department of English
PSGR Krishnammal College for Women
Coimbatore -641004
Tamilnadu, India

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