QUESTIONING MEMORY AND FAMILY HISTORY IN AMY TAN’S THE BONESETTER’S DAUGHTER AND THE HUNDRED SECRET SENSES
Pages: 214-226 Published: 25 Aug 2014
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Abstract: This study explores the ways in which Chinese cultural and artistic traditions together with the narrative rhetoric of talk-stories are appropriated and transformed in Amy Tan’s novels. The focus on culture, ethnicity and gender identity requires knowledge of Chinese worldviews, without which one cannot hope to achieve full understanding of Asian American literature. Intended to elucidate Tan’s unique interpretation of Chinese and American ways of life, this study also highlights the power relations, as seen from a new historicist perspective. This paper suggests that, although in society race and gender play crucial parts in discussions regarding culture, family structure and also social activities are closely tied in order to construct roles of femininity within the two cultures that are embraced in Tan’s work. The paper is intended to bring to the fore aspects related to the relationships between mothers, daughters and even sisters, as they succeed in sharing stories about their lives through narration.
Keywords: new historicism, power, ethnicity, femininity /vs/ masculinity, cultural inheritance, storytelling