Asian American Studies 5



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  • In my lectures on No-No Boy, I argued that John Okada narrates Ichiro’s journey from a sense of nothingness when the novel begins to a movement toward wholeness when the novel ends. I also argued that Okada uses the idea of modernism—the divided self in the aftermath of war—to give shape to Ichiro’s sense of being a broken subject. In the journey Ichiro takes in the novel, he encounters a series of people—Bull, his father, his mother, his brother Taro, Freddy, Kenji, Emi, Mr. Carrick.


Using the idea of modernism as discussed in my lectures and two of these characters, write an essay in which you make an argument about this narrative of nothingness to wholeness. Consider what you think Ichiro’s state is at the end of the novel and what is the nature of the space between nothing and whole.


  • Nearly twenty years passed between the publication of No-No Boy (1957) and “No Name Woman” [in The Woman Warrior (1976)]. In between, we saw the rise of the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movement. In this context, “Asian American” as a political and cultural identity took shape, considering ideas around America, race, assimilation, gender, memory, among other topics.


Please discuss two ways in which each Okada and Kingston articulate their Asian American identities. How do each of these authors define the term Asian American?

What do the similarities and/or differences between the authors suggest about the shifting nature of an Asian American identity?




  • Your answer should be in the form of an essay, 700-900 words long, typed, double-spaced, and in 12-point font.


  • It should present a strong central argument—a thesis.


  • The essay should demonstrate your familiarity with the class readings and the lectures. Your points should be backed up with references to specific characters and moments in the texts. 


  • Please do not make reference to outside texts in your essays. I would like you to concentrate on the literary texts themselves.


  • Since you’ll be citing only the literary texts, please use this basic citation method: Author, page number. For example, (Bulosan, 24).  If you want to cite something I have said in lecture, replace the page number with the lecture number.


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