The Outward Spiral: Why Kang and Bulosan Ignore the Everyday

Yoon Lee

in Modern Minority

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199915835
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199315956 | DOI:
The Outward Spiral: Why Kang and Bulosan Ignore the Everyday

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The early Asian American writers Younghill Kang and Carlos Bulosan conceived of modernity as progress toward the universal, and tried to capture this movement in their narrative’s structures. Attempting to portray the world in epic fashion, they use repetition to illustrate a continuous dialectical movement toward a higher unity. But the recurrence of objects, actions, and motions in their narratives ends up evoking the bleak, racialized and industrialized everyday of 1930s and 40s America: an abstract anywhere, populated by thing-like people who are linked and moved mechanically. Ironically, a certain epic immanence does arise from a racial barrier that infuses every aspect of the external world with meaning.

Keywords: Carlos Bulosan; Younghill Kang; epic; race; repetition; dialectic; modern

Chapter.  14130 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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