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Globalization and identity formation: A cross-cultural reading of Amy Tan's "Sagwa, the chinese siamese cat"

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Chapter Summary

Childhood and adolescence play crucial roles in the process of identity formation. The sense of uprooting and the dilemma in straddling between different cultures create enormous confusion and identity crises for both adults and children. This chapter analyzes the successful narrative and cultural strategies of Sagwa’s localization of Chinese culture in North America. Sagwa’s extraordinarily good reception in North America suggests a successful communication between Chinese and Western cultures. The chapter also examines the narrative and cultural strategies that Amy Tan and the other creators applied in the Sagwa series to make the communication so successful. The art of dialogue is applied systematically in the structural organization of Sagwa, which leaves it open and dynamic. The distorted images and stereotypes of Asians as ‘yellow perils’ have deep roots in Western societies and have caused self-identity confusion for several generations of Asian North Americans.

Keywords: Chinese culture; cultural strategies; identity formation; North America; Sagwa; Western societies



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