“Negative Difference” and Its Role in Writing: Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s <i>Among the White Moon Faces<i/>

Authors

  • Srimati Mukherjee, Temple University, USA

Abstract

This essay addresses Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s Among the White Moon Faces: An Asian American Memoir of Homelands (1996) to argue the significance of the diasporic vision in the American literary imagination. I show that through a politics of return and re-engagement with the Malaysian context of the mid-twentieth century via her memoir, Lim presents history from the perspective of the oppressed and colonised. She also performs the important function of preserving and transmitting memory in diaspora. In addition to the benefits for the Malaysian American, this helps individualise the immigrant as an entity with historical dimensions for more mainstream audiences. The essay introduces the notion of "negative difference" as well, showing how Lim periodically felt herself marked as the devilish or unassimilable other in both Malaysia and the United States. Yet she uses the memoir as a reflective tool to evaluate the impact of such marking and often mobilises her writing as weapon or counter-act against such othering. In this regard, the essay argues for the beneficial effects of adversity on writing as conveyed in this particular work by Lim.

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Author Biography

Srimati Mukherjee, Temple University, USA

Srimati Mukherjee is Associate Professor of English on the Teaching Track at Temple University in Philadelphia, USA. She has published close to twenty essays and short stories in peer-reviewed journals and anthologies, nationally and internationally. Her critical articles and essays have appeared in The Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Jump Cut, Asiatic, Scritture Migranti, Transnational Asian American Literature: Sites and Transits, The International Reception of T.S. Eliot and The Mark Twain Encyclopedia. Her short fiction has been published in Feminist Studies and Xavier Review. Recently, Mukherjee was selected as one of two Fellows from English/First-Year Writing at Temple University to work with the Philadelphia Education Fund for a programme that facilitates transition of high school students to college. She has also started a monthly book, poetry and film discussion group for women in the Philadelphia and greater Philadelphia area.

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Published

2014-06-15

How to Cite

Mukherjee, Temple University, USA, S. (2014). “Negative Difference” and Its Role in Writing: Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s &lt;i&gt;Among the White Moon Faces&lt;i/&gt;. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 8(1), 131–142. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/458

Issue

Section

Articles on Shirley Geok-lin Lim