IMPACTS OF IMMIGRATION ON AMERICAN LITERATURE 1
When America’s was developing to become a nation, most of thestories in literature revolved around immigration. Today, the patterncontinues, and the contemporary writing in America greatlycontributes to how we understand multiculturalism and ethnicity.Maxine Hong Kingston has facilitated the rebirth of Asian-Americanwriting in her book, The Woman Warrior. The book features thestory of her “nonexistent” pregnant aunt and elaborates on howthe cultural taboos in China affect her aunt’s pregnancy (Kingston,2005). The use of diction enables the author to express her personalfeelings, for example, she has used the term “eccentricity” tomean odd behavior. Her aunt’s pregnancy was an odd behavior, andthis presents the cultural clash between the traditional beliefsabout women in China and the beliefs in the modern-day America.
Amy Tan is another Asian-American writer that helps in therenaissance of the old American literature. Her novel, The JoyLuck Club that became a hit film in 1993 features a story of fourdaughter-and-mother pairs. The Joy Luck Club is Tan’s dedication toher grandmother and mother, and it is clear that she has usedflashbacks to portray the intercultural and intergenerationalconnections between the old China and the modern-day United States.Gloria Anzaldua attempts to define the “New Mestiza” in the book,Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza and does so byassessing herself, her language and her land (Anzaldua, 1999). TheNew Mestiza in the book refers to a woman who is an offspringof American Indian and Spanish American. The new “Borderlands”literary means the borderlands between the United States and Mexico,but the author refers to the spiritual, sexual and psychologicalborderlands inside the New Mestizo.
Kingston and Anzaldua have depicted that the American culture hasevolved, and it is more modernized than their respective cultures.Kingston portrays the Chinese culture as primitive with theircultural taboos and beliefs towards women while the American culturehas abandoned those traditions (Kingston, 2005). Anzaldua usescharacters to show the evolved culture of the rich whites and theconservativeness of the Spanish Americans and American Indians livingin the borderlands (Anzaldua, 1999). However, from a psychologicalperspective, Kingston seems to cherish the culture of the Americanswhile Anzaldua is outraged by their culture because she has portrayedthe challenges she faced while living with the rich whites on theborderlands.
Anzaldúa, G. (1999). Borderlands: [the new mestiza] = Lafrontera. San Francisco, Calif: Aunt Lute Books.
Kingston, M. H., & Gordon, M. (2005). The woman warrior.New-York: Alfred A. Knopf.