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Others in Amy Tan’s the Hundred Secret Senses

Author ZhangChunMei
Tutor ZhanShuKui
School Xiamen University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Orientalism Third Space Others identity pursuit universal love
CLC
Type Master's thesis
Year 2008
Downloads 187
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Among the important contemporary Chinese American writers, Amy Tan is another pathfinder besides the most influential writers such as Frank Chin and Maxine Hong Kingston. Undoubtedly one of the most popular, Tan holds a notable position and deserves a special place in the study of contemporary Chinese American literature, In her works, cultural conflicts, generation gap and emotional disturbance appeal to a wide circle of readers. Tan is at home at delineating the mother-daughter relationship and exploring how to bridge the gap between Chinese immigrant mothers and Americanized daughters.Having explored the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship in her first two novels (The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife), Amy Tan turned to the sisterly bond in her third novel: The Hundred Secret Senses (1995), which is about the lives of two half-sisters—Kwan, who is from China, and Olivia, an American with a Caucasian mother. The novel explores Tan’s best-loved themes of family love, cultural identity, and Chinese superstition. Unlike her previous two novels which were highly complimentary, reviews for her third novel were mixed. After surveying the literary review on Amy Tan and her works, I found few critics in China have carried an in-depth and comprehensive study on her third novel, especially from the postcolonial perstective. So from this critical angle, the thesis focuses on the critical controversy at first, then analyzes the Others in the novel from the perspective of postcolonialism, explores the universal love through multiculturalism and hybridity, manifests the harmonious relationship between people, hoping to provide beneficial enlightenment to cultural communication in today’s global context.The thesis can be divided into three parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. The introduction part includes a brief introduction to the development of Chinese American Literature, Amy Tan and her works, The Hundred Secret Senses and the general survey of literary review on it.The body is consisted of four chapters. Chapter One briefly introduces post colonialism theory: Edward Said and his Orientalism, Homi Bhabha and his Third Space. Chapter Two, Three, and Four form the main body of the thesis: the analysis of the Others in Amy Tan’s The Hundred Secret Senses from the perspective of postcolonialism, mainly Orientalism and Third Space. Chapter Two illustrates the thorough Other Kwan and the other thorough Others from the third world. Chapter Three illustrates the partial Other Olivia and the other partial Others from the white world. Chapter Four analyzes the alliance reached between the Others and the Whites. With the alliance, Olivia achieves her identity pursuit and Tan deconstructs the west-east binary opposition through multiculturalism and hybridity.The conclusion comes to Amy Tan’s literary achievement: she rebels against western hegemony and explores universal love through multiculturalism and hybridity. Undoubtedly, in the era of Globalization, Tan’s "hope of building up a harmonious society with the peaceful co-existence of different races and cultures" is quite representative.

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