Type / Thesis

Autobio/Graphic Writing:The Construction of the Site of Memory in Vietnamerica

Pin-chia Feng

Page / 57-76

Abstract


In his 2010 graphic novel, Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey, G. B. Tran creates a new and hybrid vocabulary, Vietnamerica, to define his identity and to underscore the collectivity as implied in its subtitle. Vietnamerica not only records Tran’s personal search for identity but also presents the migratory route of the Tran family from Vietnam to the United States, which in turn symbolically represents the formative process leading to the emergence of the Vietnamese American community. In an attempt to construct an artistic lieux de mémoire, or site of memory, for his displaced families as well as for the Vietnamese American community, G. B. Tran chooses to employ graphic narrative as the medium through which he pieces together his family story. This paper aims to analyze the ways in which Vietnamerica artistically recollects familial/national histories and intervenes in the tradition of life writing. The first part briefly introduces the traditions of comics and graphic narratives to explicate the artistic heritage of Vietnamerica; the second part focuses on several key scenes and the various narrative strategies of the novel as examples to explore how G. B. Tran combines graphic art and literary text to construct his own site of memory and collective cultural identity.

Keywords : Graphic novel, lieux de mémoire (site of memory), Vietnamerica, G. B. Tran, Asian American studies
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