Mimesis and the reliability of ethnic literature


 “Mimesis is unreliable because “the production of discourse which. . . fully adequate[s] the real” (MacCabe 8) depends on an ideological understanding of the relationship between linguistic and natural reality. Such adequacy is ideological to the extent that it “confuse[s]. . . reference with phenomenalism” (De Man, Resistance 11). Nowhere is this confusion more obvious than when “ethnic” literature is “use[d]. . . entirely for lessons outside of literature” (Tan in Stanton 7). The ideological implications of assuming that “ethnic” literature references reliably are discussed by Melanie McAlister: “what is reinforced is a simplistic and condescending attitude toward ‘ethnic art,’ one that requires that representations of, and by, ‘the Other’ be contained and presented as information, rather than as any challenge to the aesthetic of the mainstream” (106).” (18)

Ref: Bella Adams (2003) ‘Representing History in Amy Tan’s “The Kitchen God’s Wife“‘ MELUS, Vol. 28, No. 2, Haunted by History (Summer, 2003), pp. 9-30Published by:The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS)


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