Title

Reading the Vietnam War and Encountering Other Others: Race and Ethnicity in American Novels of the Vietnam War

Defense Date

4-1-2016

Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2016

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

English

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Magali Michael

Committee Member

Emad Mirmotahari

Committee Member

Kathy Glass

Keywords

Ethnicity, Race, War

Abstract

This dissertation examines four novels that specifically and deliberately focus on the perspectives of people of color in the United States in order to explore a gap in the conversations surrounding representation of the Vietnam War. Opening the canon to include more diverse perspectives of the Vietnam War acknowledges how predominantly white representation of the war effaces the experiences of the many soldiers of color, who often fought and died in disproportionately greater numbers than white soldiers, and attempts to redress such erasure. These novels include Arthur R. Flowers's De Mojo Blues, which focuses on African American soldiers’ experience and highlights intra-racial conflicts and Lan Cao's Monkey Bridge, an exploration of Vietnamese American women living as refugees in the United States. Additionally, Alfredo Véa's Gods Go Begging and Linda Hogan's People of the Whale go beyond the Chicano and Native American identities of their respective protagonists by including a diverse range of voices and re-imagining boundaries associated with racial and national identities. Responding to the myth of American exceptionalism, the novels illuminate how the war perpetuated long-standing systems of oppression and interrogate oppositions between self and other, individual and community, and past and present that war often sustains. As such these novels emerge as critical interventions in discourses of race and nation by highlighting and creating space for difference. Ultimately, these novels provide a vision of hope by imagining a world that embraces the complexities of cross-cultural community rather than merely superficial melting pot diversity.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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