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Performing family “like a dog unleashed” : looking at filiality through the lens of postmemory in Vietnamese diasporic fiction Minh, Cynthia

Abstract

This thesis examines how Vietnamese refugee families are perceived through visual frames and memories, and in particular how 1.5 or second generation Vietnamese refugee narratives are frequently characterized by the presence of intergenerational conflict. I consider the ways in which two texts, lê thi diem thúy’s the gangster we are looking for and Truong Tran’s dust and conscience, aesthetically reconstruct the ideological family space through the lens of Marianne Hirsch’s concept of postmemory. In the gangster we are all looking for, visual configurations of postmemory invite readers to look at intergenerational conflict through the affiliative histories of post-war trauma, displacement, state oppression, and filial debt. In dust and conscience, affiliative ways of looking redefine fraught filial interactions as performative acts rather than prescriptive ones. By presenting alternative ways of looking at families, these texts challenge normative filial structures, and instead advocate for ambivalent forms of belonging to a family or nation.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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