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China AbroadTravels, Subjects, Spaces$
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Elaine Yee Lin Ho and Julia Kuehn

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099456

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099456.001.0001

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Translating and Transforming the American Dream: Jade Snow Wong's Fifth Chinese Daughter and Gish Jen's Typical American

Translating and Transforming the American Dream: Jade Snow Wong's Fifth Chinese Daughter and Gish Jen's Typical American

Chapter:
(p.122) (p.123) 7 Translating and Transforming the American Dream: Jade Snow Wong's Fifth Chinese Daughter and Gish Jen's Typical American
Source:
China Abroad
Author(s):

Weimin Tang

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789622099456.003.0007

This chapter, by focusing on what have been largely denounced as the two assimilationist Bildungsromane, Jade Snow Wong's Fifth Chinese Daughter, and Gish Jen's Typical American, brings to the fore an insider and outsider's profound ambivalence that illuminates the full complexity of the cross-cultural Chinese American subject. It is precisely in the active presence of this Chineseness, both as a historical given and cultural reinvention, that the myth of the American Dream as a trope of assimilation in the narratives of Wong's and Jen's mimic (wo)men's striving for likeness to the original symbol is simultaneously negotiated and contested. Ultimately transcending the reductive dichotomous polarization, the dream narratives of Wong and Jen are reread here as enunciating a metonymic displacement and transformation of the national myth in the cross-cultural Chinese American subject's very translational repetition of the American Dream itself.

Keywords:   Jade Snow Wong, Fifth Chinese Daughter, Gish Jen, Typical American, Chineseness, American Dream, Dream narratives

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