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We narration in Chang-rae Lee’s 'On such a full sea' and Julie Otsuka’s 'The Buddha in the attic' : 'unnaturally' Asian American?

Delphine Munos (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
This essay looks at two recent Asian American texts written in the first-person plural – namely Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the attic (2011) and Chang-rae Lee’s On such a full sea (2014). Its main goal is to show that the ambiguities and tensions here generated by we narration prove particularly apt when it comes to calling into question essentialist views concerning the anatomy of community-building. But my contention is that these two we texts are particularly interesting at a theoretical level, too, in that they help us challenge the orthodoxies of traditional narrative theory – among which Gérard Genette’s all-too-rigid distinction between the homo- and heterodiegetic levels in a text, or the generalized assumption, which has been notably challenged by Mieke Bal, that every act of story-telling is necessarily indebted to ‘a’ narrator, and a narrator of anthropomorphic standards at that.
Keywords
Julie Otsuka, Chang-rae Lee, Asian American, Narrative Theory, We narration

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MLA
Munos, Delphine. “We Narration in Chang-Rae Lee’s ‘On Such a Full Sea’ and Julie Otsuka’s ’The Buddha in the Attic’ : ‘Unnaturally’ Asian American?” FRONTIERS OF NARRATIVE STUDIES, vol. 4, no. 1, 2018, pp. 66–81.
APA
Munos, D. (2018). We narration in Chang-rae Lee’s “On such a full sea” and Julie Otsuka’s ’The Buddha in the attic’ : “unnaturally” Asian American? FRONTIERS OF NARRATIVE STUDIES, 4(1), 66–81.
Chicago author-date
Munos, Delphine. 2018. “We Narration in Chang-Rae Lee’s ‘On Such a Full Sea’ and Julie Otsuka’s ’The Buddha in the Attic’ : ‘Unnaturally’ Asian American?” FRONTIERS OF NARRATIVE STUDIES 4 (1): 66–81.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Munos, Delphine. 2018. “We Narration in Chang-Rae Lee’s ‘On Such a Full Sea’ and Julie Otsuka’s ’The Buddha in the Attic’ : ‘Unnaturally’ Asian American?” FRONTIERS OF NARRATIVE STUDIES 4 (1): 66–81.
Vancouver
1.
Munos D. We narration in Chang-rae Lee’s “On such a full sea” and Julie Otsuka’s ’The Buddha in the attic’ : “unnaturally” Asian American? FRONTIERS OF NARRATIVE STUDIES. 2018;4(1):66–81.
IEEE
[1]
D. Munos, “We narration in Chang-rae Lee’s ‘On such a full sea’ and Julie Otsuka’s ’The Buddha in the attic’ : ‘unnaturally’ Asian American?,” FRONTIERS OF NARRATIVE STUDIES, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 66–81, 2018.
@article{8634562,
  abstract     = {This essay looks at two recent Asian American texts written in the first-person plural – namely Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the attic (2011) and Chang-rae Lee’s On such a full sea (2014). Its main goal is to show that the ambiguities and tensions here generated by we narration prove particularly apt when it comes to calling into question essentialist views concerning the anatomy of community-building. But my contention is that these two we texts are particularly interesting at a theoretical level, too, in that they help us challenge the orthodoxies of traditional narrative theory – among which Gérard Genette’s all-too-rigid distinction between the homo- and heterodiegetic levels in a text, or the generalized assumption, which has been notably challenged by Mieke Bal, that every act of story-telling is necessarily indebted to ‘a’ narrator, and a narrator of anthropomorphic standards at that.},
  author       = {Munos, Delphine},
  issn         = {2509-4890},
  journal      = {FRONTIERS OF NARRATIVE STUDIES},
  keywords     = {Julie Otsuka,Chang-rae Lee,Asian American,Narrative Theory,We narration},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {66--81},
  title        = {We narration in Chang-rae Lee’s 'On such a full sea' and Julie Otsuka’s 'The Buddha in the attic' : 'unnaturally' Asian American?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/fns-2018-0005},
  volume       = {4},
  year         = {2018},
}

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