American Literature Essay

American Literature Essay-80
Sinophobia, which extended to all Asians, remained strong for nearly a century from the completion of the transcontinental railroad in the 1870s until the immigration reform act of 1965, which ended discriminatory quotas favoring Europeans and equalized quotas worldwide.Consequently, much of the Asian immigrant experience has been a painful one.Though the Heath Anthology includes only ten Asian American authors out of several possible hundreds, it does present a chronological and a somewhat representative sample from a field growing in two directions as new writers become published and as scholars uncover writers of the past.

Sinophobia, which extended to all Asians, remained strong for nearly a century from the completion of the transcontinental railroad in the 1870s until the immigration reform act of 1965, which ended discriminatory quotas favoring Europeans and equalized quotas worldwide.Consequently, much of the Asian immigrant experience has been a painful one.Though the Heath Anthology includes only ten Asian American authors out of several possible hundreds, it does present a chronological and a somewhat representative sample from a field growing in two directions as new writers become published and as scholars uncover writers of the past.

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I think there is much in the collection that should be available outside of college classrooms, and I hope others will think so, too.

I am heavily indebted to my two associate editors, William E.

Writers whose sensibilities were shaped in Asia, those who write of American experiences in Asian languages or of Asian experiences in English have been designated immigrant or emigré writers, but should also be included under the rubric Asian American.

There is always a surplus of humanness, as Bakhtin says, (Dialogic Imagination, 37) and several questions tease us as we try to put people into categories.

We are looking at autobiography, work songs, and diaries as literary texts worthy of study.

We are urging everyone to admit to a perspective and to grant the validity of other perspectives.

These questions seem answerable only on a case by case basis, depending on the scholar or critic tackling them.

In brief, for me the ethnicity of an author should be Asian and the subject matter Asian or Asian American to fit my definition of an Asian American text. By what criteria do we decide which texts are works of art and which are not?

We are realizing that there are large gaps in history, many stories which have never before been heard by the populace at large, stories by those who are powerless, working class, and peoples of color.

Thus, Asian American literature has several purposes: to remember the past, to give voice to a hitherto silent people with an ignored and therefore unknown history, to correct stereotypes of an exotic or foreign experience and thus, as Hong Kingston says, to claim America for the thousands of Americans whose Asian faces too frequently deny them a legitimate place in this country of their birth.

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