Breaking Silence through Storytelling : When You Trap a Tiger



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Even in the twenty-first century, Asian Americans are still finding their voices of expression: be it in the film industry where the Silent Asian trope is rampant or in the critically acclaimed collection of essays Minor Feelings (2020) by Carthy Park Hong, which criticizes silences imposed on the Asian American community through, for example, the model minority myth. In addition, authors and scholars frequently expose the issues of silence in Asian American literature. One of the breaking points concerning ethnic and gendered silences in literary criticism was the publication of Articulate Silences by King-Kok Cheung (1993) dealing with canonical Asian American female authors and the forms of silences they utilize. Cheung defined three broad categories of silence: rhetorical, provocative, and attentive. Her criticism articulated some of the pressing issues of the Asian American community of that time and times past, yet the stereotype of silent Asians still prevails. Recently, the authors of Asian American YA fiction address the issue of the silence of second- or third-generation Asian American children. Employing Cheung’s notion of Provocative Silence, defined as: “parental and historical silence that spurs creativity,” the talk focuses on the YA novel When you Trap a Tiger (2020) by Tae Keller (winner of the 2021 Asian Pacific American Literature Award) discerning the ways silence gives way to the creativity of storytelling, helping vocalize the identity of children growing up.
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