Narratives of Belonging: Feminine Magic and Wonders in Diasporic Writing
Dr. Amy Wai Sum Lee.
To many people, globalization is a threatening force for many financial and cultural minorities because this process sets off a mechanism of uniformity not only in terms of industrial and financial enterprises, but also in terms of cultural identities because it changes the basic framework of identification. When distance is no longer calculated in relation to time, when language is reduced to a universal common denominator, when development is equal to advancement in science and technology, our world is officially getting flatter, smaller, more knowable, and we less distinct. The global village threatens to rob us of our own stories and our own way to tell them. How does one reclaim the individual selves which are under fire? How does one escape the monophonic environment to indicate a specific (be)longing? What kind of stories can one tell for one’s cultural being?
The proposed paper looks at three contemporary diasporic narratives which tell different stories of belongings. Maxine Hong Kingston’s autobiographical novel The Woman Warrior represents a personal quest through different and even contrasting stories of the past and present to arrive at a self which exists in a multiple reality; Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day is a story of multiples which attempts to understand the present from the re-examination, redefinition, and reconstruction of the past; while Maryse Conde’s I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem utilizes the multiplicity of cultural texts in arriving at a story of belonging. All three narratives of belongings actively manipulate a feminine lineage of magic, celebrating the multiplicity of voices, generations, identities and realities as the story of selves. It is hoped that the analysis of various diasporic writings can be a strategy to counteract the mechanisms of global uniformity.
Dr. Amy Wai Sum Lee (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)
Hong Kong Baptist University
Amy Lee teaches in the Humanities Programme and the Department of English Language and Literature at the Hong Kong Baptist University. Her research interest includes narratives of marginal experiences and identities, new literatures in English, and detective fiction.
Person as Subject
(Virtual Presentation, English)