Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Modern cultural, literary and linguistic perspectives

Eszter Mohácsi: Transnational Identity Formation in Korean American Literature: Catherine Chung’s Forgotten Country


DOI 10.51313/Freeside-2022-05

The USA has always been a melting pot of different nationalities. Inevitably, this diversity has also been presented in its literature. Asian American literature, which is a fairly new subject of literary studies, presents one example of the States’ varied literary landscape. Some recurring themes studied in works written by authors from the Asian diaspora are hybridized identity, language, gender, trauma, and belonging. This paper also highlights the theme of identity and identity formation in connection with recent theories concerning transnational identities and second-generation immigrants, focusing on Catherine Chung’s Forgotten Country (2012). As searching for one’s own identity is a major part of the struggles of the adolescence stage, it is quite natural that questions of identity are emphasized in case of second-generation Asian Americans growing up in a culture distinctively different from that of their parents’. In the novel, the protagonist, Janie, clearly has bicultural identity, whereas her younger sister, Hannah, struggles with her Korean heritage, which she seems to reject. By the end, as a result of a homeland trip and their father’s death, both sisters comprehend more of their family’s past traumas and their homeland’s history, which enables them to acknowledge their Korean heritage and reclaim their lives.

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ISSN 1786-7967

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