MELUS

A journal concentrating on multi-ethnic American literature for the academic audience.

Articles from Vol. 34, No. 1, Spring

Ambivalent Passages: Racial and Cultural Crossings in Onoto Watanna's the Heart of Hyacinth
Appearing in the early fall of 1903 in time for the Christmas season, The Heart of Hyacinth, like other Japanese romances by Onoto Watanna (Winnifred Eaton), was widely promoted as a holiday gift book, enchanting readers with its "exquisite" Japanese...
Black Power beyond Black Nationalism: John A. Williams, Cultural Pluralism, and the Popular Front
In The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright (1973), biographer Michel Fabre was eager to define Wright's cultural ideology for the novelist's newest generation of readers. According to Fabre, Wright sought "to live in a pluri-ethnic and pluri-cultural...
Editor's Introduction: Witnessing, Testifying, and History
"Inquire, Learn, Reflect." This inscription graces the paving stones leading to Kent State University's May 4th Memorial, which commemorates the day in 1970 when members of the National Guard gunned down four unarmed students during an anti-war protest....
From Mee-Gook to Gook: The Cold War and Racialized Undocumented Capital in Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker
In his 1995 novel Native Speaker, Chang-rae Lee inserts an account of the pedagogical moment in which his Korean American narrator experiences the lesson of what it means to be a "good" or "bad" Korean. This moment literally takes place in the classroom....
Internment and Post-War Japanese American Literature: Toward a Theory of Divine Citizenship
World War II presented American men with an opportunity to serve their country and thereby demonstrate their patriotism. This avenue to proving one's national loyalty became a double-edged sword for Japanese American males and radically impacted how...
Learning from the Dead: Wounds, Women, and Activism in Cherrie Moraga's Heroes and Saints
Cherrie Moraga's play Heroes and Saints (1992) depicts a Mexican American farming community whose children are dying. (1) Like the fruits and vegetables that grow in the surrounding fields, these deaths are produced by the agriculture industry's reliance...
Seeing "From the Far Side of the Hill": Narrative, History, and Understanding in Kindred and the Chaneysville Incident
Midway through William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! (1936) Quentin Compson and his father stand before a group of tombstones. Typically, Quentin can surmise how Thomas Sutpen's merciless resolve transported the pounds of Italian marble--"the best"--to...
Sins of Omission: Hisaye Yamamoto's Vision of History
In January 1951, the little-known writer and recent World War II internee Hisaye Yamamoto received an unexpected letter from the eminent Stanford English professor Yvor Winters. Having discovered Yamamoto's story "Yoneko's Earthquake" in the pages...
Telling Stories of Transgression: Judith Ortiz Cofer's the Line of the Sun
Critics often describe Judith Ortiz Cofer's work as straddling two cultures: the Puerto Rican one of her parents and ancestors, and the American one of her peers and her adolescence (Ortiz Cofer, "MEL US" 84). Although this is a common trope for understanding...
The Gullah Seeker's Journey in Paule Marshall's Praisesong for the Widow
As Barbara T. Christian and others have argued, all of Paule Marshall's fiction demonstrates her conviction that African-based cultural and historical rituals have the power to resist centuries of loss and psychological colonization. Marshall's third...
Witnessing
In "Why I Write: Making No Become Yes," Elie Wiesel succinctly expresses the philosophy of witnessing that has governed much of his major writing and public speaking for the past fifty years. As a survivor of the Holocaust, he says, "I believed that,...