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The Interethnic ImaginiationRoots and Passages in Contemporary Asian American Fiction$
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Caroline Rody

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377361.001.0001

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Mixed Races, Mixed Children, Mixed Outcomes

(p.145) Epilogue
The Interethnic Imaginiation

Caroline Rody (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This epilogue examines the history of mixed‐race characters in Asian American fiction, so as to consider the meaning of the generation of mixed‐race fictional children born to the protagonists of the novels centrally considered in this study. After a brief discussion of the legacy of “tragic” mulattoes and other mixed‐race characters in U.S. fiction, and then of the increasing public acceptance and even affirmation of mixed‐race identity in popular and literary discourse, it goes on to trace a line of troubled mixed‐race Asian figures, with special attention to the melancholic predicament of visually indeterminate race, in texts by writers including Frank Chin, Jessica Hagedorn, Heinz Insu Fenkl, and Don Lee. Patricia Chao's Mambo Peligroso and Jiro Adachi's Island of Bicycle Dancers present more affirmative if problematic portrayals of mixed characters and societies. But the mixed children in Chang‐rae Lee's Native Speaker, Gish Jen's Mona in the Promised Land, and Karen Tei Yamashita's Tropic of Orange should be seen as suggestive projections of an emerging interethnic consciousness.

Keywords:   mixed‐race characters, mixed‐race children, visual, melancholia, Jessica Hagedorn, Don Lee, Jiro Adachi, Chang‐rae Lee, Gish Jen, Karen Tei Yamashita

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