August 16, 2011
Asian American Literature
Although strict definitions of any category are difficult to make, defining Asian- American literature is primarily literature written by and about Asian-Americans. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Asian-American literature also includes literature written by Asian-Americans, which may or may not, address the lives of Asians in America. Who is an Asian-American and how do they fit in the overall picture of America, exclusively of any other ethnic American literature? There are those that feel that an Asian-American's space within America is very difficult to define, and at best, it is a highly contested terrain. How is it to be defined? In the past, one definition included only those who are American-born, and commonly only those who are from East Asia count. Compared to the last few decades, the population of Asian-Americans in modern America are much more diverse, and in part to this, Asian Americans have gained a voice amongst literature scholars and critics. The Asian culture’s literary cannon is recognized by general use of specific themes such as; Immigration experiences, sense of displacement, remembering the past and heritage, gender role transitions, and most commonly used is the philosophy of Confucian.
The label “American” encompasses many different cultures and races. However, American society is habitually at fault of assuming there is only one undoubtedly, spot on, white “American” face, voice, and behavior. Associate Professor of Sociology, Minako Maykovich, states that “the criteria for physical characteristics are generally determined by the dominant group in society,” thus “racial difference is the greatest obstacle to the process of assimilation” (pp 68). In Traise Yamamoto’s nonfiction narrative, Different Silences, the author explores her Asian American identitiey as defined by American culture. The mission to abolish stereotypes and...