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Bilingual BrokersRace, Literature, and Language as Human Capital$
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Jeehyun Lim

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823275304

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823275304.001.0001

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Schooling Bilinguals In and Against Multiculturalism

Schooling Bilinguals In and Against Multiculturalism

(p.91) Chapter Three. Schooling Bilinguals In and Against Multiculturalism
Bilingual Brokers

Jeehyun Lim

Fordham University Press

Chapter three examines multicultural literary models of growing up in two languages through Américo Paredes’s George Washington Gómez and Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior. By reading Paredes’s novel side-by-side Kingston’s widely discussed text, the chapter suggests that a syncretic bilingual personhood in which various anxieties of language’s value as property are worked out in relation to an ethnic subject’s formation is a key element of literary multiculturalism. The much-discussed controversy around The Woman Warrior recapitulates in the real world the fictional controversy over Guálinto’s betrayal of his Mexican heritage in George Washington Gómez as Asian American cultural nationalists accused Kingston of misrepresenting Chinese American experiences. In light of the conditions of bilingualism’s valorization and stigmatization in Paredes’s novel, the chapter revisits this controversy as ultimately symptomatic of the competing visions of bilingualism as cultural and human capital in multiculturalism.

Keywords:   bilingual child, human capital, Maxine Hong Kingston, multiculturalism, Américo Paredes

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