Essay on Native Speaker, By Chang Rae Lee

1139 Words Jun 1st, 2016 null Page
Native Speaker, by Chang-Rae Lee, is a captivating novel which touches upon issues such as race, loyalty, assimilation, immigration, politics, interracial marriage, and identity. Lelia describes Henry as: “illegal alien/ emotional alien” (Lee 5) because he does not show emotions the way she expects him to. It is interesting that she uses the term alien to describe his emotional states, as it shows how insensitive he can appear. Perhaps, that is one of the things that made his relationship with Lelia challenging. His parents are even stricter (especially his father is merciless in the sense that he points out Henry’s flaws every chance he gets), just like Ichiro’s mother and Lucy’s mother, as if to appear strong and invincible. The fact that, both Henry and his father did not care enough to know the name of the woman who took care of them shows their tendencies to dissociate themselves from intimacy. Jack criticizes Henry’s quietness by stating: “You understand respect and distance and separateness. Fine things. But someplace in your life you let them go too far.’” (Lee 152) We would think his tendency not to communicate with people and connect emotionally would make his job as a spy easier, hence making the betrayal easier. However, after the death of Mitt, his personal life seems to interfere with his professional life, as he becomes more attached to the subjects he is supposed to spy on, in the cases of Luzan and John Kwang. Particularly, his relationship with Kwang makes…

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