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The American Short Story Cycle$
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Jennifer J. Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474423939

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423939.001.0001

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Tracing New Genealogies

Tracing New Genealogies

(p.87) Chapter 4 Tracing New Genealogies
The American Short Story Cycle

Jennifer J. Smith

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter four turns to a more intimate form of affiliation than either nation or community: family. The period from the 1970s onward has produced the greatest concentration of cycles since modernism, because writers embraced the cycle to express the contingency of being ethnic and American. Family, rather than community or time, is the dominant linking structure for many of these cycles, reflecting how immigration laws placed family and education above country of origin. This chapter focuses on the role of family in the production and reception of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1989), Julie Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (1991), and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth (2008). These cycles argue that subjectivity—and by extension gender and ethnic attachments—derives not only from biological relationships but also from “formative kinship,” which originates in shared experiences that the characters choose to value.

Keywords:   Ethnicity, Women, Gender, Immigration, Kinship, Amy Tan, Julia Alvarez, Jhumpa Lahiri

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