Ingratitude: The Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature

Ingratitude: The Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature

Ingratitude: The Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature

Ingratitude: The Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature

Excerpt

I have trouble understanding why someone so smart would drop
out of school and run away from home at 14 and end up as a
junkie-whore. Yes, it’s hard to be the dutiful daughter of immi
grant parents from China and Hong Kong, the kind who con
sider friends a frivolity and an 89 per cent exam mark a failure …
But I’m a parent now. Millions of Canadians have overcome such
traumas, if that is the word, without self-indulgent melt-downs.

Canadian journalist Jan Wong, in interview
of Evelyn Lau, The Globe and Mail

Too often, … narratives of gender and sexual awakening are
accused of undermining the “serious” work that Asian Ameri
can texts are expected to perform: to expose anti-Asian senti
ment in the United States, to limn the trauma inflicted upon
Asians by Western imperialism, to envision better worlds where
Asians and Asian Americans will not be construed as foreign
ers in their own homes, to create a common cultural ground
for pan-Asian unity, and (more recently) to apprehend Asian
Americans’ larger global-economic agendas and cross-border
alliances. Each of these social agendas comprises a supportable
priority. However, it would be a mistake to interpret the pursuit
of these goals as anomalous or more important than the expo
sure of tyrannies within the household.

Rachel Lee, The Americas of Asian American Literature

This is a book about the Asian immigrant family and intergenerational conflict—conflict that we think we know; after all, the story has been often enough told. But in order to dislodge us from our tired circuits around the immigrant family romance, this analysis deliberately brackets the (inter)personal. So Ingratitude will not be particularly interested in the . . .

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