On the Duality of Cultural Identity in The Joy Luck Club
Chapter One Introduction
From the beginning of Chinese people’s immigration into America in the history, Chinese American people have struggled to enter into American main culture and shown their anxieties over the duality of their cultural identity. According to The New Edition of the American Literature, the history of Chinese immigration into America can be classified into four periods: the first period--- the free immigration period from 1849 to 1882 ,during which Chinese went to America out of gold rush and served as cheap workers for railway constructions; the second period --- the Chinese exclusion period from 1882 to 1943 with an enforcement of The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882; the third period --- the restricted Chinese immigration period from 1943 to 1965, during which there were 105 Chinese who had the right to immigrate into America every year according to the law; the fourth period --- the new immigration period from 1965 to nowadays. Due to the political and historical reasons and the influence of white supremacy in America, Chinese American people, as a minority, have been rejected by the main culture since the very beginning of their immigration. To survive in America, most of them have lived in Chinatown where the living conditions were awfully bad. However, their persistent efforts to enter it ultimately made them win the recognition by the main culture at the end of the 1980s in literature. Frank Chin, Maxine Hong and Amy Tan are among the well-known writers in America nowadays.
Chinese American literature has gone through a long period before its recognition by the main culture. Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angles Island, a work which was detained from the cannon before it was selected into The Heath Anthology of American Literature, can best reflect the hardships of Chinese sojourners on Angles Island－a filtering center for Chinese immigrants....