FULLTEXT01 - School of Humanities and Media Studies English...

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Racial Conflict in the United States of America A Deconstructive Perspective on Native Speaker by Chang- rae Lee Amin Beiranvand Dalarna University English Department Degree Thesis Spring 2010 School of Humanities and Media Studies English Department Master Degree Thesis in Literature, 15 hp Course code: EN3035 Supervisor: Irina Rasmussen Goloubeva
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Table of Contents Introduction 1 Immigrants and their Assimilation Problem in America 4 Koreans and Blacks Relations: Real and Fictional Conflicts 13 Comparative Analysis of the Depiction of Blacks and Koreans and Racial Tension between the two Groups 16 Racial Conflict and Mistreatment of Immigrants as Reflected in Lelia and Henry’s Relationships 20 Native Speaker’s Vision of Ethnic Relationships in America 21 Conclusion 24 Works Cited 27
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1 Introduction Chang-rae Lee was born in 29 July 1965 in Korea. At the age of three he left Korea with his parents and together they migrated to America, and he grew up as an American. After finishing his high school, he got into Yale University, then like many university graduates, the allure of Wall Street caught his eye. However, before long he recognized that his passion was writing; therefore, he decided to become a writer. In spite of his parents’ disapproval, he enrolled in a creative writing programme at the University of Oregon. This is the background which led to his first literary appearance with his Native Speaker , and finally resulted in making him the most renowned Korean-American writer in the United States. In the past a foundation of Korean-American literature had been laid by authors such as Kung Young Hill whose books include Gross Roof (1931), The East Goes West (1937), Kim Yong-ik, the author of Diving Ground (1962), and Richard E. Kim, the author of The Martyred (1964) and The Innocent (1968). However, the unique attention that Chang-rae Lee received from the American literature community ranks him first above all other Korean-American writers (Young-oak Lee 65). His illustrious awards and honours include: the impressive Hemingway Foundation/Pen, American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, The Oregon Book Award, QPB New Voices Award, The Brances and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, and the Notable Book of the Year Selection by American Literature association. All of them except the latter were granted to him for his successful novel, Native Speaker . Also, he was recognized by the New Yorker as one of the twenty best American writers under forty for his novel Native Speaker . Since the publication of the novel in 1995, much work has been done on the issues of immigration, ethnic conflict, and situation of Asian Americans in America. Here, briefly some of them are mentioned. Kim Jo di in his article “From Mee -Gook to Gook: The Cold War and Radicalized Undocumented Capital in Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker analyses the novel
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2 with specific attention to how Henry, the Korean-American protagonist of the novel, construes the difference between what is meant to be a bad Korean or good Korean or a good American. In her article
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