Essay on Asian Diaspora

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Asian Diaspora

Asian diaspora, or the personal and cultural implications of leaving one's homeland, is a central and reaccuring theme for Asian American writers. Diaspora is Greek for "the scattering of seeds"
(, and its ancient denotation has taken figurative meaning today as a feeling of seperation and detachment. In both Fae Myenne Ng's Bone and Chitra Banerjee
Divakaruni's Leaving Yuba City, a thematic thread of "scattered parts", outsiderness, and otherness link the characters in each, as well as the two seperate works, together. This diaspora affects each generation of immigrants in a slighly different, but no less signficant, way. As an aspect of diasora, W.E.B. DuBois's notion of
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So, he feels neither, or both, as a "double consciousness." Leon's loss of identity is not only personal, but official. He arrived in America as a paper son, and later when Leila was establishing his social security she was hard-pressed to find actual documents establishing his identity, but instead she found and
"inherited this whole suitcase of lies" (61).

For this first generation of immigrants in America, it was clear shortly after their arrival that they would not be American by default of living here, so clung to the belief that they would "live through the humiliation in this country so that [their children] could have it better." (36) But for Leila (in the 1.5 generation), Nina, and Ona
(both 1st generation Chinese Americans), their lack of identity through dual lives is different from their parents, but the generations share many of the same feelings of isolation and frustration. Leila "know[s] so little of the old country" and her relatives back in China "have always been strangers..." (36) The sisters attempt to escape the constant burden of their dual lives;
Ona commits suicide while Nina takes work across the country, and
Leila cannot escape physically, always finding her self back in Salmon
Alley. Yet with Mason, she feels "worlds away from Salmon Alley"
(101) and will sometimes use drugs to induce escape, making her feel
"kind of buoyed up, lulled" (93). Yet this escape is only temporary, part of them is always bound with Salmon Alley, just as

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