By belonging to these two ethnic and class identities, there is the inability to belong to either side and instead the characters become a representation of belonging outside of every culture without the ability to assimilate to the current conditions. The concept of identity, in both of these novels, becomes one of representing the “neither” and living outside of the boundaries.
In both novels, there is a question of identity through the Asian – American experience and the belief in the class and ethnicity that each of the character belong to. The first aspect of this is the immediate definitions of what it means to be Asian and how this creates a sense of identity and belonging. In Bone this begins with the concept of identity as a Chinese that is living in America. The identity that is created immediately creates the character as an outsider from both the Chinese and the American perspective. The narrator states
“We were a family of three girls. By Chinese standards, that wasn’t lucky. In Chinatown, everyone knew our story…. Here’s another bone for the gossipmongers. On vacation recently, visiting Nina in New York, I got married. I didn’t marry on a whim – don’t worry, I didn’t do a green card number” (Ng, 14).
The identity of the Asian – American, through these initial statements, immediately creates a set of boundaries on both sides. From the Chinese standards, the narrator is considered unlucky. However, the author also creates boundaries through the American standards as the author states that she didn’t do a “green card number.’ Creating a middle boundary on both sides then creates a representation of the Asian – American that doesn’t represent either the Chinese or the Americans.
The inability to belong as a representation of the Asian – American identity is also a part of My Year of Meats. The narrator is represented first as an American that is living in a ...
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