Chapter

Extensive Time and Crumpled Surfaces: Projects of Identity in Frank Chin and Lois-Ann Yamanaka

Yoon Lee

in Modern Minority

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199915835
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199315956 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199915835.003.0007
Extensive Time and Crumpled Surfaces: Projects of Identity in Frank Chin and Lois-Ann Yamanaka

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The everyday focuses aimlessly on what is close at hand: the furniture in the room, the objects visible through the window, the signs on the street. This ability to reground its own abstraction becomes the key to its utopian potential. Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s short stories occur within the familiar machine-made, mass-produced everyday that marks the regime of commodity fetishism. But she draws attention to the physical traces left on objects and environments by the small-scale micro-histories of human use. This sensitivity to the intimate effects of time gives rise to a concrete sense of the local. Everyday duration and repetition, rather than anticipation and closure, form the basis of a different economy focused on the erosion and adaptation of the familiar. Through a figure of the “second-hand,” the reused or recycled, Yamanaka demonstrates how the everyday’s minorness, while not a chosen condition, can be imagined as the basis for an new kind of finite identity, one very different from earlier models.

Keywords: Lois-Ann Yamanaka; Bamboo Ridge; Hawai’i; narrative; identity; commodity; everyday; local; second-hand; minor

Chapter.  11405 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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