||This thesis is to deal with Asian American female writer, Amy Tan, and her latest novel The Bonesetter’s Daughter. In this thesis, the traditional aspect of Asian American literature of textual analysis or identity politics will be less focused; rather, we will concentrate more on the cultural studies aspect of Asian American literature to explicate some important but little explored issues of Amy Tan in this thesis.
In the first chapter, I appropriate Walter Benjamin’s famous essay, “The Task of a Translator”, to illuminate and discuss the mother-daughter bond in Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter. My argument is the mother-daughter bond in this fiction is like the kinship between the original text and the translated text: though there are indeed some historical considerations and cultural essence that cannot be translated, it comes down to an ultimate negotiation in the end. Like Amy Tan’s fiction, there is always a possible way to cross over the cultural differences and reach a negotiation in the end.
In the second chapter, I take the different editions of book-cover images to exemplify the stereotypical Chinese-associating icons on book covers. To narrow down the case to be studied, I take The Bonesetter’s Daughter for instance, and Tan’s other works to be supporting evidences. I try to illustrate in American book market, Chinese-associating icons are still the most significant marks of Chinese American authors. I also adopt traditional Western sense of image reading to examine these images, attempting to associate the femininity in these Chinese-associating icons with the “racial castration” in American society. This chapter is to look at how the Westerner’s fetishism toward China may form the “American Orientalist Discourse”.
In the third chapter, I try to start with Mike Featherstone and Robert Bocock’s ideas of consumption to explore in American consumption society, how an ethnic literary work is produced and promoted. I also try to make readers understand this issue from the standpoint of the author, the aspect of the publisher, and the view of the consumers as well. My argument is to point out that in American book market, the production of an ethnic literary work is greatly manipulated by the publishers. And thus, the representation of minority group is oftentimes erroneous.