Institutional Scholarship

"I was in a familiar place, the place of feeling unfamiliar": Multiplicity, Melancholy, and (Mis)Recognition in Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor McGrane, Laura
dc.contributor.author Le, Tina
dc.date.accessioned 2019-09-02T18:01:56Z
dc.date.available 2019-09-02T18:01:56Z
dc.date.issued 2019
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/21763
dc.description.abstract Asian Americanness is often described using language that marks this racial categorization’s hybridity and liminality -- the way that they are white, but not white enough and yet the way that they don’t cleanly fit into the category of “colored” either. Drawing from the often overlooked, historically tense racial tensions of Asian immigrants in America, I explore the consequences of America’s unspoken yet violent history towards Asian American (immigrants) through Viet Thanh Nguyen’s racially mixed (Vietnamese/European), hybrid spy protagonist/narrator. Unable to come to terms with the physically, biologically, and ideologically in-betweenness of himself, the narrator struggles to come to terms with his inability to belong, which consequently leads to a failure to adequately construct a narrative/story for himself. I argue that the narrator’s eruptions of violence and his inability to acknowledge these eruptions are a result of his inability to mourn -- and get over -- parts of himself that are excess, that prevent him from belonging, similar to the ways that America as a nation fails to acknowledge and thus “mourn” the violence and harm that it has done onto others. The novel’s confessional form allows the narrator to “write himself” in a way that enables him to confront this melancholy. I read the novel’s eventual break from the confession and the adoption of a less structured liminal form as a mode of mourning, acceptance, and reconstruction for the hybrid narrator.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
dc.subject.lcsh Nguyen, Viet Thanh, 1971- Sympathizer
dc.subject.lcsh Race in literature
dc.subject.lcsh Vietnamese Americans in literature
dc.title "I was in a familiar place, the place of feeling unfamiliar": Multiplicity, Melancholy, and (Mis)Recognition in Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Tri-College users only


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Search


Browse

My Account