Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies, Vol 4 (2013)

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"You No Real Man": Constructing Gender, Sexuality, and the Asian American Subject in Jana Monji's "Kim"

Robin E. Field

Abstract


Jana Monji's short story "Kim" offers a stunning plot twist that challenges readers’ initial interpretations of the characters as well as many assumptions and stereotypes about Asian American identity, gender, sexuality, and culture.  Its pedagogical value for introducing basic literary theory, heterogeneity within gender and sexual identities, and Asian American culture and history is immeasurable.  In this essay, I offer an overview of the story, my interpretations of the text, and the pedagogical strategies I use to introduce undergraduate students to concepts that often challenge their world views.  Ultimately, this story provides instructors with an accessible and multifaceted text through which to present the basic tenets of gender theory, queer theory, and Asian American culture and history.


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