Writing Exile and Diaspora in Li-Young Lee’s The Winged Seed and The City in Which I Love You
In Li-Young Lee’s writing of the Chinese diasporic experience, migration to the United States is not represented as the defining experience that brings respite after discrimination on the basis of race, political persecution, and forced transnational crossings. Consciousness of race has been forced on Lee as a subject of Chinese descent born in Indonesia, an experience encountered at uncomfortably close range by Lee in the political persecution of his father by the Indonesian government. For Lee, the father who is the patriarch of the family is not only its provider and protector but also a victim of persecution, not only the repository of values but also an estranging figure of authority. A controlling presence in Lee’s diasporic experience, this father epitomizes the emotional and psychological dislocations of exile, facilitating remembrance of Indonesia at the same time that he creates space for the possibilities of a new life in America.
KeywordsChristian Faith Chinese Descent Paternal Authority Poetic Form Political Persecution
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