Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies, Vol 3 (2012)

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Revisiting Local History and Ghostly Memory in Shawna Yang Ryan’s Locke 1928

Chia-rong Wu


With a focus on the changing process of Chinese American haunting, this article is drawn to Shawna Yang Ryan, a less-known, mixed heritage Chinese American writer. Ryan finds her own way of looking into the older Chinese American past in Locke 1928 (2007). Unlike Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan, Ryan remains devoted to a specified locale in Chinese America and a historically bound ghost story and without seeking the formulation of the Chinese American identity in the present. Through the revenge of the water ghosts, Ryan re-writes the local history of Locke town and re-negotiates the cross-cultural memory of the early Chinese immigrants, thus helping readers reconsider the relationship between the past and the present, reality and myth. That said, this piece would fill in the lack of the researches to date and explore the continuous spectral representation of Chinese diaspora in the context of Chinese America. 

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