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Asian American Studies 5 Final Study Guide

Asian American Studies 5 Final Study Guide - Asian American...

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Asian American Studies Final Study Guide 1. What my brother actually said was, “I drove Mom and Second Aunt to Los Angeles to see Aunt’s husband who’s got the other wife.” “Did she hit him? What did she say? What did he say?” “Nothing much.” In fact, it wasn’t me my brother told about going to LA; one of my sisters told me what he’d told her. His version of the story may be better than mine because of its bareness, not twisted into designs. In her reworking of the autobiographical genre, Kingston employs a range of narrative strategies by which she balances the “subject” and the “Subjective”. Explain the purpose of this balancing act for this postmodernist narrative. Discuss how the above passage-and at least two more scenes of you choosing from the book-exemplify those strategies in action. In her narrative, Kingston uses both 1 st person and 3 rd person point of views. This postmodern text undoes binary oppositions such as self vs other. Kingston uses others a bulidng blocks of herself: No Name Woman, Fa Mu Lan and her mother. She understands herself by understanding others. This is in contrast to the idea of subjective vs. objective and individual vs. society; postmodern texts dissolve the binary oppositions. In the passage above Kingston argues that her brother’s first person point of view from about what happened with Moon Orchid and her husband is more reliable and “bare” than her third person point of view of what she believed to have happened. In literature many females tend to be personal and subjective. In post modern texts there is an undoing of binary oppositions. Instead of self vs. other there is a notion that the other can only be known through the self. At the beginning of “At the Western Palace” she refers to her mother as “Brave Orchid”. In the previous chapter, “Shaman”, she referred to her mother as, “My Mother”. This shift from 1 st person point of view to 3 rd person point of view creates a distinction between how Kingston feels about her
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mother in the two passages. In Shaman, she descirbes her mother as a successful doctor who the other villagers look up to. In “At the Western Palace”, her mother, who is plagued by the western traditions, is seen as less stable and sane. This is when Kingston refers to her from a third person point of view, to make it seem less personal and little relationship between the two. Another example: Kingston refers to her aunt as “Moon Orchid”. This is so that she can view her aunt, who turns insane, from an objective point of view. This distances herself from her aunt and makes their relationship less personal. 2. I’ve been looking up “Ho Chi Kuei,” which is what the immigrants call us-Ho Chi Ghosts. “Well, Ho Chi Kuei,” they say, “what silliness have you been up to now?” “That’s a Ho Chi Kuei for you,” they say, no matter what we’ve done. The immigrants could be saying that we were born on Gold Mountain and have advantages. Sometimes
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