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Nguyen Hoang

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Nguyen Hoang

Professor. Stephanie Santos

APAM 2371

October 29, 2017

Midterm Paper

Intergenerational conflicts within Asian American cultural have not been a new subject matter, yet it remains a controversial one without an official definition. The cultural conflicts between immigrant parents and their American-raised children spark a number of acculturation issues in immigrant families in general. As the Asian American community became fully aware of the threat the subject poses, there have been many literary works reflected and shed light on this matter. To link these issues back to Lowe’s point in Immigration Act, it is reasonable to agree that the immigrants are purposely finding their way in political ground to form uniform identity in this mainstream culture of America; however, it turns out that they are still struggling to implement it. With that being said, Asian American culture still exists outside of the fringes of America’s culture even as citizen resulted from retraction of the history and silence in defining their identity in family caused by Asian Americans.

Withholding the thought of having to move on from the Asian wars in order to seek for a new identify implied that the “histories are fractured”. In the novel “No No Boy” by John Okada, the image of Inchiro’s immigrated parents being complacent with their life in America even though affected by the World War II somehow reflected that they forced themselves to erase the past. Although not completely but there was no sign of them to confidently embrace it. As the Yamadas, it is essential for Inchiro’s parents, especially the mother to influence her son not to pledge allegiance to the United States. Also, by considering herself a Japanese- not American even though she decided to choose this “land of opportunity” as her permanent stop; illustrated that she is having trouble finding a true identity for herself. Thus, it’d be more difficult for Inchiro to find his identity as he straddled from two cultures.

Most Asian American as if being haunted with the thought of being treated differently from the rest of the culture, they inadvertently allowed themselves to become submissive under the domain of the subculture they are living in. Not to generally reckon that everyone is similar but by inserting from the literary works, the majority of characters under the theme of intergenerational conflicts are under the influence. While we cannot undo the past, the facts of how much pain Americans have caused to the Filipinos, Korean, Vietnamese in the past are undeniable. In the reading of a white girl in the game store that we covered in class, the poem reminded us of the results that wars have left on the Asian community- either migrated or still remain in their homeland. In the past, the Americans came to invade our homelands, they tried to change our mindsets and they wanted us to adapt their values. Regardless of how the circumstance has changed and that people have more freedom towards what they want to become in life nowadays, the dilemma of chasing to reach something that ones perceived as a standard for this culture that they are living in is a phenomenon about histories being retraced. Asian Americans are invaded, mentally and physically. According to “The Paper Managerie” by Ken Liu, the progress of Jack being repudiated his Chinese identity that he once had and tried to fit in to become more Americanized showed how he was invaded by the prejudice of his childhood’s friend. Histories being retraced here doesn’t necessarily applied to war where Americans were the perpetrators and Asian American as the victims. However, Jack in “ The Paper Mangerie” was his own perpetrator that intrudes his self- awareness, “sometimes, when I came home and saw her tiny body busily moving about in the kitchen, singing a song in Chinese to herself, it was hard for me to believe that she gave birth to me” (Liu, 70). Aside from that, the matter of keeping up with American’s standard appearance was portrayed in Asian American’s literature as well. In Helena Grice and Crystal Parikh’s “Feminisms and Queer Interventions into Asian America”, addressed the issue of Asian American try to live up with beauty standard in America to the point that they are often seen as “token”. Grice states, “"I also saw a lot of pressure to dye my hair lighter, wear color contacts, to wear Abercrombie jeans, to wear Ugg boots and Northface and it was all these symbols to make me look more white" (Grace, 169). It is not hard to fully aware of the fact that these Asian American are tired of “the patriarchy in Asian American spaces and sick of the racism in white feminism”. However, it has come to the point that they have to change themselves for something that they are not in order to blend in with the status quo. All in all, these factors mentioned above somehow strengthen the belief that Asian American cultural forms as an alternative site that exists under the influence of other mainstream culture.



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