In this paper, I explore the monstrous relationships between Chinese American mothers and daughters in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Bone by Fae Myenne Ng, and Severance: A Novel by Ling Ma. I employ monsters as metaphors and motifs that illustrate the womens’ genealogical trauma and resistance. By putting Chinese American matrilineages in a monstrous context, I elevate them as alternative knowledge sources that haunt the margins of Western society. In The Joy Luck Club, ghosts reveal the invisibility and survivor mindset of Chinese American immigrant mothers. For Bone, skeletons represent the unspoken trauma that plagues Chinese American families without the cultivation of cultural tools. Finally, in Severance, zombies demonstrate the detached corporeal experiences of Chinese American second-generation daughters who don’t feel a sense of belonging in China or the U.S. Although the inherited monstrosity is daunting, it also makes space for resistance in the forms of talk-stories, memory, and reimagination. Together, the works craft a narrative of hard-fought pain and hard-won growth, and love that is inseparable from monstrosity.
"Monstrous Matrilineage in Chinese American Literature,"
Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies: Vol. 12, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/aaldp/vol12/iss1/9