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Racial AsymmetriesAsian American Fictional Worlds$
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Stephen Hong Sohn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479800070

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479800070.001.0001

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White Flight, White Narration

White Flight, White Narration

Suburban Deviancies in Chang-rae Lee’s Aloft

Chapter:
(p.25) 1 White Flight, White Narration
Source:
Racial Asymmetries
Author(s):

Stephen Hong Sohn

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479800070.003.0002

This chapter explores how Asian American-ness might be structured in relation to the psychic interiority of a white narrator. It presents a reading of Chang-rae Lee's Aloft, which is narrated in the first person like the author's earlier novels, Native Speaker and A Gesture Life. However, while those two novels are narrated from the perspectives of Korean American men, Aloft's narrator is an Italian American named Jerry Battle. Racial asymmetry appears in the dissonance between Lee and Battle: by positioning Jerry as the narrator of the story; hence refracting the Asian American experience through the lens of a white character rather than presenting it.

Keywords:   Chang-rae Lee, Aloft, racial asymmetry, Jerry Battle, Asian American experience

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