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Analysis of Culture Identity in Alice Pung’s Unpolished Gem from the Perspective of Post-Colonialism

Author JiaoCongCong
Tutor XiangXiaoHong
School West China University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Unpolished Gem Post-Colonialism Culture identity Hybridity Diversification
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
Downloads 29
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Unpolished Gem is the first novel of the Chinese-Australian writer Alice Pung. In theautobiographical novel, Alice Pung vividly describes her family and their life stories inAustralia taking her personal experiences as the source materials. Through her description,readers can know how they survive arduously in the alien country under the influence ofmainstream Australian culture and Traditional Chinese culture. Besides, the novel showsanother subject which cannot be easily perceived but run through the whole work. The subjectis how Alice Pung, as a Chinese-Australian girl, seeks her culture identity in the strangeenvironment. The novel narrates the conflict and integration between Chinese culture andAustralian culture, the new immigrates who lose their culture identity, and who encounter racialdiscrimination and sexual discrimination. The autobiographical work embodies her concernabout the identity of Chinese immigrates in Australia and reveals her new perception of theculture identity of current Chinese-Australians as well as her new research into ethnicattributes.Culture identity is one important view in the field of post-colonial literature criticismtheory. It is the identity of a nation or a culture or the identity of an individual as one isinfluenced by one’s attributes to a nation or a culture. It is defined as the distinctive characterbelonging to any individual, or shared by all members of a particular social category or group.The thesis, based on the theory of culture identity which is brought forth by Franz Fanon,Edward Said and Homi Bhabha, interprets Unpolished Gem. By analyzing the mentality ofAlice Pung’s growth, the thesis discloses the process of Chinese-Australians’ seeking their ownculture identity and positioning themselvesAlice Pung is born in a family with the background of Traditional Chinese culture but isliving in the Australian society which is full of western values. In another word, Alice Pungcannot obtain the sense of belonging spiritually, though she may get the right of abode inAustralia during the long process of her living there. As the marginal “Other”, she falls into theidentity crisis and always asks herself who she is. Therefore, Alice Pung begins the search forher identity. After experiencing the puzzles of the root-shaking and the rational selection of theroot-seeking, she reconsiders her own ethnic culture and critically examines westernmainstream culture. Finally, Alice Pung constructs the unique culture identity rooted inmulti-cultural integration and realizes the construction of her identity and ethnic attributes.Firstly, the thesis introduces the significance of the research and its literature review.Secondly, from the perspective of post-colonial cultural criticism, it analyzes Alice Pung’sroot-shaking consciousness when she first immigrated to Australia, and it narrates her pressureof the material life in the alien cultural context, the communication gap and the loss of her identity. Then, the thesis expounds how Alice Pung makes the rational choice between China’straditional culture and western mainstream culture and forms her root-seeking consciousness.Further, it analyzes how she finds her new multi-culture identity in the end through her effortsand structures her culture identity in the alien culture. Finally, the thesis draws the conclusion.On the one hand, the identity of Chinese-Australians is not static and unchangeable butdynamic and fluid. On the other hand, the establishment of their new multi-culture identityresults from the conflict and integration among different culture.

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