Melancholic Ghosts and Points of Contact: Visibility, Voice, and Translatability in Maxine Hong Kingston and Cathy Park Hong
Seol A Lee, Summer 2018
Director: Jessica Berman
Committee Members: Craig Saper and Maleda Belilgne
This thesis explores the concept of racial melancholia by focusing on racialized others in America. Lee applies Freud’s notions of “uncanny” and “melancholia” to the experience of otherness as discussed in the works of Kristeva, Du Bois, and Fanon. Highlighting the spectral nature of melancholia, in which loss remains unresolved and unsettled, Lee defines racialized others as “melancholic ghosts,” whose “complex personhood” can only be accessed by limited visibility, hearability, and translatability. She seeks points of contact with these ghosts through the works of “cultural haunting” by two Asian American writers: Maxine Hong Kingston’s novel, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts and Cathy Park Hong’s poetry collection, Dance Dance Revolution.