Exploring the Issues of Gender and Ethnicity in Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s <i>Sister Swing</i>


  • Elisabetta Marino, University of Rome “Tor Vergata,” Italy


This essay will provide an analysis of Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s Sister Swing (2006), a coming-of-age novel centred on the three daughters of a traditionalist family in Malacca, Malaysia. After examining the character of the patriarch, Ah Kong, and the hierarchical relationship he strove to establish and maintain with the victimised women of his family (both his wife and daughters), this article will, first of all, explore the strategies employed by the three sisters to emancipate themselves from his tyranny, and their different degrees of success. As it will be shown, the revolt against the patriarch is closely connected with the discovery of one’s body and sexuality, as well as with the notion of movement and travelling, signifying freedom from the shackles of tradition, and a quest for a home which is not merely a physical place. Secondly, given Lim’s overcoming of the binary opposition between the immigrant’s country of origin and the US (and her subsequent adoption of a transnational perspective), this article will delve into the distinct way the author deals with the issue of ethnicity, namely by focusing on the problematic interaction between different ethnic communities in the American context, and their lack of understanding and communication with one another.


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Author Biography

Elisabetta Marino, University of Rome “Tor Vergata,” Italy

Elisabetta Marino is tenured assistant professor of American and English literature at the University of Rome "Tor Vergata." She has published three monographs, translated poems by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and edited and co-edited five collections of essays, including Transnational, National, and Personal Voices: New Perspectives on Asian American and Asian Diasporic Women Writers (2004). Two more edited collections of essays are forthcoming. She has published extensively on Asian American and Asian British literature, Italian American literature, travel literature and on the English Romantic writers.




How to Cite

Marino, University of Rome “Tor Vergata,” Italy, E. (2014). Exploring the Issues of Gender and Ethnicity in Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s &lt;i&gt;Sister Swing&lt;/i&gt;. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 8(1), 185–194. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/462



Articles on Shirley Geok-lin Lim