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The Racial MundaneAsian American Performance and the Embodied Everyday$
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Ju Yon Kim

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479897896

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479897896.001.0001

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Trying on The Yellow Jacket at the Limits of Our Town

Trying on The Yellow Jacket at the Limits of Our Town

The Routines of Race and Nation

(p.25) 1 Trying on The Yellow Jacket at the Limits of Our Town
The Racial Mundane

Ju Yon Kim

NYU Press

This chapter explores the routines of race and nation by reading The Yellow Jacket, by J. Harry Benrimo and George C. Hazelton Jr., and Our Town, by Thornton Wilder. It considers how the two plays integrate the performance of quotidian activities with nonrealistic stage conventions, defamiliarizing everyday behaviors to encourage audiences to identify with and to distance themselves from the world depicted on the stage. It also discusses the two plays' use of non-naturalistic theatrical conventions to present the racial mundane, along with their projection of a distinct spectatorial position that set limits on the crossings that they promised. It shows that the plays' experiments with Chinese theatrical practices are intertwined with the relationship between habitual behaviors and social delineations—the site of so much contestation in debates about Chinese immigration.

Keywords:   race, nation, The Yellow Jacket, Our Town, Thornton Wilder, plays, everyday behaviors, racial mundane, habitual behaviors, Chinese immigration

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