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American Knees Essay

691 words - 3 pages

American Knees by Shawn Wong, was a different type of story that focuses around an Asian American male. Asian American fiction is usually written about the women, family, or the immigrant experience. Wong, however, focuses his story around an unusual topic, the Asian American male. The Asian American male is often not written about, nor if it is there are heavy stereotypes imposed on them. The author places the story in a rather modern time period, and takes a radical approach in characterizing his main character Raymond. This story was very different than the other types of Asian American drama that is normally read. The book's main character is a male character named Raymond. The beginning of the story is of him going through with his lawyer about his divorce. Divorce is not such a hot topic amongst the Asian American community, so he is pretty much placing his character in a new situation. By ...view middle of the document...

He was the first to probably marry outside of his race, and the first to have gotten divorced. These types of situations are very new to the Asian American community, and this time it is in the perspective of the Asian American male, and not the woman. After the divorce, Raymond meets many different kinds of women. He never meets another Chinese woman like he said he would, but ends up meeting a white woman, a hapa woman, and a Vietnamese woman. He never re-marries during the book, but has some long relationships with some. One of his longest relationships was with Aurora, the hapa. His relationship with Aurora was pretty important because we begin to see that he starts to portray the role that he thought he broke free from. He was always talking to Aurora about racial and equality issues, as if Aurora fully didn't understand because she was only half-Asian and not full. He was now instilling the idea of cultural and ethnic purism, after he directly challenged the ideas. Another important idea within the book is Raymond's relationship with his father. Most Asian American novels concentrate on the relationship between mother and daughter, but they never concentrate on the father son relationship. Since most Asian families are patriarchal, it is like a guy thing to not be very affectionate and talk about the relationship. After Raymond's father had his stroke, his relationship with his father becomes very close. Raymond's father never seemed to be mentioned after the divorce, but suddenly becomes resurfaced with the stroke. This shows the Asian male being sentimental and having emotions not like the stereotypical apathetic Asian male. American Knee's was a fresh perspective through the life of one Asian American male. The author really hits subjects and topics that are rather taboo within Asian culture, and its kind of nice to see the character go through realistic situations that can actually happen today. The story seems very realistic because it is not traditional. The plot, situations, and characters are very radical for Asian American literature and break free from the stereotypes that are imposed on them.

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