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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.56, No.5, 907 ~ 931, 2010
A Symptomatic Reading of "Discrimination" and "Difference" in A Gesture Life
이석구 Suk Koo Rhee
Most previous studies on A Gesture Life focused on illuminating the role and significance of Kkutaeh, the Korean comfort woman, whom Hata runs across at a military camp in the Burmese jungle. For instance, Carroll Hamilton argues that the return of Kkutaeh as a traumatic subject disrupts Hata`s nationalist narrative, causing the protagonist`s eventual failure at national enfranchisement. However, this paper focuses on Hata`s relationship with Bedley Run, the sleepy suburban white town, in which the protagonist settles down right after immigration to the US. The racial/racist nature of Bedley Run has not received due critical attention, although a few studies on the novel saw Hata`s gestures as a survival tactic deployed against a hostile environment of the new host society. This paper, resorting to Pierre Macherey`s thesis on symptomatic reading, exposes what Hata, the narrator/protagonist, hides from his readers concerning his status in his muchbeloved town; and it also explores the subversive significance of Hata`s ethnic memories. The aim of this study is, after all, to map both the subversive possibilities and the limitations of Hata`s immigrant narrative as a bildungsroman.
Key Words
『제스처 라이프』, 징후적 읽기, 피에르 마셔레, 윌리엄 새프런, 제임스 클리포드, 호미 바바, 이민자 서사, 전복적 가능성, 소수 민족, 디아스포라 주체, 성장 서사, 간극성, Gesture Life, symptomatic reading, Pierre Macherey, William Safran, James Clifford, immigrant narrative, subversive possibilities, diasporic subject, bildu,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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