S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 31 Number 1/2 (2008)
이창래의 「제스처 인생」패싱, 동화와 디아스포라
Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture Life - Passing, Assimilation and Diaspora
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.31 No.2, pp. 235-264
- Chang-rae Lee(이창래); A Gesture Life(제스처 인생); passing(패싱); assimilation(동화); Diaspora(디아스포라); nation(국가); ethics of survival(생존의 윤리)
- Chang-rae Lee deals with not just the moral of what is right or wrong but the ethics of survival in A Gesture Life. He focuses on Hata who was desperate to belong to the powerful factions in the society, to belong to the Japanese and to belong to the mainstream of American culture. And he shows that it causes certain things for Hata not to do, which is not to stand for people, not to stand up for what was right, not to protect people. A Gesture Life explores the affected motive and feigned intention in Hata's gesture life. It is this ineluctable complicity between the commonplace and the pernicious that covers the text's dark logic. Up to his twenties Hata, a Korean under Japanese colonial rule, had tried passing as a Japanese owing to the suppressive circumstance and his interests. Having immigrated to America he has consistently committed to become assimilated into the mainstream of American cul ture. He is someone who was willing to give up who he was for comfort, safety and prestige. While passing is deceptive acting so that one can become accepted by a certain ethnicity or race which is not his or her own, assimilation is a conformity way of life in order to belong to the adopted nation. Passing and assimilation are similar in that both live as not what one has been. This paper tries to explore what the psychic process of passing and assimilation is. And it examines how Hata has to commit sins to even the precious ones such as Kkutaeh, the lover, and Sunny, the adopted daughter, to achieve successful passing and assimilation. His troubled relation and behavior to Sunny in present day is not an echo but a continuation of a series of life long psychic struggles over passing and assimilation. He has regarded himself as the margin and continuously pursued the recognition and approval from the mainstream, by controling and deserting the precious ones who stand in the way of his passing and assimilation. He realizes he was in fact a critical part of events and he could change the direction of the critical situation by his own action. Finally he takes his location as a responsible diaspora, who doesn't feel absolutely rooted but takes his important agency.