Ethnic Literature Research Paper

Words: 1272
Pages: 6

The Power in a Name

The term “ethnic” when in conjunction with the word “literature” in the academic discourse community of students, often brings out mixed feelings of excitement and dread. On the one hand, students understand that they will be getting away from the canonical American literature – which can equal boring in their eyes; on the other hand, students interpret the term “ethnic literature” to mean distinctive – which can equal confusing or ambiguous – and perhaps at times not relatable because it is outside their scope of experiences. Perhaps before jumping into why it matters, the term “ethnic literature” should be defined first and because I am still learning how to interpret this term myself, I searched for a suitable
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Felicia in chapter 2 states that “there’s no way getting away from them” (25). Basically meaning, you cannot escape who you are and where you come from. I would not have understood this had I not explored the history of that tree to uncover the significance in the book. Another example is in Seventeen Syllables in the story “Seventeen Syllables”. The story about a Japanese family is easy to read, but is hard to connect with as I don’t share the same philosophies about a woman’s place in the Japanese culture. A specific instance in the story was when Mrs. Hayashi, Rosie’s mother received her the first place prize for her stellar Haiku. When the man from the newspaper presented her with a package, Mrs. Hayashi, stating she knew it was unorthodox, asked if she might open it because she was very curious. (Yamamoto 17). At this point, I am thinking to myself, “I don’t get it – why wouldn’t she open it?” but upon reflection, I considered the patriarchal society that is dominant in this culture, and perhaps it is the wife’s obligation to consult or have the husband open the gift, even if it is not specifically for him. Yet another example is in Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. To come specifically to the point, I do not understand this idea of why it is understood that Dominican men are supposed to be these “manly men” that women flock to and fall on their knees for. That the sexual appetite along with innate sense of charisma from Dominican men is expected, and when it’s