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Lois-Ann Yamanaka Bibliographical Presentation 1.

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2 Lois-Ann Yamanaka Bibliographical Presentation 1

3 Authors Life 3 rd generation Japanese American 3 rd generation Japanese American Raised on Molokai Raised on Molokai Grew up in Pahala, Big Island Grew up in Pahala, Big Island She is the eldest of four daughters She is the eldest of four daughters Mother – school teacher Mother – school teacher Father – school-administrator-turned- taxdidermist (8) Father – school-administrator-turned- taxdidermist (8)

4 Authors Life Was discouraged at school from speaking pidgin (8) Was discouraged at school from speaking pidgin (8) As a teacher of at-risk students in Kalihi, she was admonished against using Pidgin in the classroom (8) As a teacher of at-risk students in Kalihi, she was admonished against using Pidgin in the classroom (8) Married John Inferrera, a high school health and PE teacher Married John Inferrera, a high school health and PE teacher

5 Authors Life: continued now lives in Honolulu now lives in Honolulu Has a 13 year old autistic son Has a 13 year old autistic son 42 years old 42 years old 2

6 Authors thoughts She grew up believing you have to be good, do right, cannot make shame for the family. But there I was, this funky little loudmouthed thing. (7) She grew up believing you have to be good, do right, cannot make shame for the family. But there I was, this funky little loudmouthed thing. (7)

7 Authors thoughts We just cannot stand being who we are. If you were from Hilo and you went to Hilo College, you were dodo. But you could go to some place like Creighton University in You went to UH Manoa, you were second place dodo. Omaha, Nebraska or an obscure little university, and be this wonder child, Oh, you went to a mainland college! So sad, you know, the way we hate ourselves in the islands. (8) We just cannot stand being who we are. If you were from Hilo and you went to Hilo College, you were dodo. But you could go to some place like Creighton University in You went to UH Manoa, you were second place dodo. Omaha, Nebraska or an obscure little university, and be this wonder child, Oh, you went to a mainland college! So sad, you know, the way we hate ourselves in the islands. (8)

8 Authors thoughts Yamanaka enrolled in a writing class taught by Morgan Blair, a poet who taught at Wayne State University in Detroit. She credits Blair with helping her to overcome her reluctance to write in pidgin (8) Yamanaka enrolled in a writing class taught by Morgan Blair, a poet who taught at Wayne State University in Detroit. She credits Blair with helping her to overcome her reluctance to write in pidgin (8) Her therapy for me was that I read a lot of African-American women who were writing in dialect. (8) Her therapy for me was that I read a lot of African-American women who were writing in dialect. (8)

9 Authors thoughts Thats when I came to terms that pidgin was not an ignorant language, that I was speaking a dialect and that my feelings and thoughts were so connected to the language that in order for me to write turthfully, I needed to connect to that voice. But it was hard. Very, very hard. (8) Thats when I came to terms that pidgin was not an ignorant language, that I was speaking a dialect and that my feelings and thoughts were so connected to the language that in order for me to write turthfully, I needed to connect to that voice. But it was hard. Very, very hard. (8)

10 Yamanaka and pidgin always made to feel inferior because her family spoke pidgin (7) always made to feel inferior because her family spoke pidgin (7) the skies are blue and the palm trees sway, but its a hard life, and it has been for generations of us, because of this language. (7) the skies are blue and the palm trees sway, but its a hard life, and it has been for generations of us, because of this language. (7)

11 So in defiance, Yamanaka choose to write her earlier dialogs in pidgin. So in defiance, Yamanaka choose to write her earlier dialogs in pidgin. I wasnt going to hate myself anymore because I couldnt talk good English. Im going to tell my stories the way I heard them. (7) I wasnt going to hate myself anymore because I couldnt talk good English. Im going to tell my stories the way I heard them. (7)

12 Using pidgin in Wild Meat and Bully Burgers Linguistic identity and cultural identity are skin and flesh. When you sever one from the other, you make it not OK to be who you are. (8) Linguistic identity and cultural identity are skin and flesh. When you sever one from the other, you make it not OK to be who you are. (8)

13 Critique on pidgin writing Style although the style of dialog may be realistic, for a non-Hawaiian reader, it gets tiresome after a while….. The non- dialog parts which are given in Standard English, come as a relief. (2) although the style of dialog may be realistic, for a non-Hawaiian reader, it gets tiresome after a while….. The non- dialog parts which are given in Standard English, come as a relief. (2)

14 Other critiques: Writing Style in Pidgin …perfect ear for dialog, masterly use of dialect and scorching humor, Yamanaka has... some of the most distinctive voices of contemporary fiction. (3) …perfect ear for dialog, masterly use of dialect and scorching humor, Yamanaka has... some of the most distinctive voices of contemporary fiction. (3) fierce loyalty to… Pidgin, its lyrical, irreverent language (6) fierce loyalty to… Pidgin, its lyrical, irreverent language (6)

15 Writing Style: continued Later stories are written in standard English Later stories are written in standard English I got tired of being the pidgin poster girl. I wanted to try something new, see how far I could go. (1) I got tired of being the pidgin poster girl. I wanted to try something new, see how far I could go. (1)

16 Searing depictions of poverty, violence, family dysfunction, ostracism and racism in Hawaii (5) Searing depictions of poverty, violence, family dysfunction, ostracism and racism in Hawaii (5) There are no sunny beaches, just bruising emotional landscapes (1) There are no sunny beaches, just bruising emotional landscapes (1) TOPICS

17 Yamanakas comment on her topics: You gotta start right where theyre (readers) are at. I think my book just speaks directly to them. You gotta start right where theyre (readers) are at. I think my book just speaks directly to them. Yamanaka believes her wiritng may offer a truer portrait of the islands than those usually seen in the the mainstream media. Yamanaka believes her wiritng may offer a truer portrait of the islands than those usually seen in the the mainstream media.

18 Yamanakas comment on her topics: Its a big industry, the exotification of Hawaii and its people, Hawaii 5-0, The Hawaiians, James Micheners Hawaii, making Hawaii into every white mans dream, Magnum PI. (8) Its a big industry, the exotification of Hawaii and its people, Hawaii 5-0, The Hawaiians, James Micheners Hawaii, making Hawaii into every white mans dream, Magnum PI. (8) Its nice now that we have ownership of our own stories. (8) Its nice now that we have ownership of our own stories. (8)

19 Critiques on Yamanakas writing style funny, scathingly authentic and often stabbingly beautiful (6) funny, scathingly authentic and often stabbingly beautiful (6) Full of authentic sights and smells of childhood in Hawaii Full of authentic sights and smells of childhood in Hawaii writing style is deliberately unsafe (1) writing style is deliberately unsafe (1) Earned the reputation of an author who gathers prizes and protests. (9) Earned the reputation of an author who gathers prizes and protests. (9)

20 Many feel that Yamanaka widens the ethnic divisions in Hawaii and mocks the various ethnic groups Many feel that Yamanaka widens the ethnic divisions in Hawaii and mocks the various ethnic groups you, Japcrap…Rice Eye, good-for- nuttinPearl Harba Bomba, you, Japcrap…Rice Eye, good-for- nuttinPearl Harba Bomba, Excerpt: (Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers) Classmates taunt Lovey: (4) Excerpt: (Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers) Classmates taunt Lovey: (4)

21 Writing Style: continued Writes from the persistent distrust within Hawaiis multi-ethnic population (1) Writes from the persistent distrust within Hawaiis multi-ethnic population (1) Yamanaka isnt for the squeamish. She set new standards for describing gore in Heads by Harry (3) Yamanaka isnt for the squeamish. She set new standards for describing gore in Heads by Harry (3) the foul described in lush, beautiful language…in decomposition she finds fertility, sensuality (3) the foul described in lush, beautiful language…in decomposition she finds fertility, sensuality (3)

22 Saturday Night in the Pahala Theatre, Tita: On Fat. Eh, what you trying for say? That I one fat cow? Well, fuck you. I aint fat. I just more mature than you guys…. All you guys a bunch of small shit Japs.

23 Saturday Night at Pahala Theatre book of prose poems - Awards book of prose poems - Awards 1994 literature from Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) 1994 literature from Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) Pushcart Prize Pushcart Prize Received a grant Received a grant from the National from the National Endowment for the Arts 4

24 Saturday Night in the Pahala Theatre Award was fiercely debated at the AAAS conference. Award was fiercely debated at the AAAS conference. I was univited to school, my book was banned at certain schools, teachers couldnt use the work. I found it really sad, because when children did get a hold of the book, it rang so true to their experience. (8) I was univited to school, my book was banned at certain schools, teachers couldnt use the work. I found it really sad, because when children did get a hold of the book, it rang so true to their experience. (8)

25 Other Awards 1998 Lannan Literary Award for Blus Hanging 1998 Lannan Literary Award for Blus Hanging

26 Book reviews

27 Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers Publisher: A Harvest Book Harcourt Brace & Company Copyright: 1996

28 Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers 31 episodes of Loveys key moments in life 31 episodes of Loveys key moments in life Yamanaka say she based Lovey in part on her own adolescent experiences and those of her youngest sister (8) Yamanaka say she based Lovey in part on her own adolescent experiences and those of her youngest sister (8)

29 Optional slide: Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers (book review) My youngers sister and I were very much like our mother: talk too much, wore strange clothes, did strange things. We always thought things that we shouldnt have been thinking or said things that we shouldnt have been syaing. Little weirdos, (8) My youngers sister and I were very much like our mother: talk too much, wore strange clothes, did strange things. We always thought things that we shouldnt have been thinking or said things that we shouldnt have been syaing. Little weirdos, (8)

30 Optional slide: Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers (book review) But it was not all right in a small town. And my best friend, who was a lot like Jerome, it was not all right for him, either. It was very painful not being able to fit in with what was middle-class Japanese…Writing is very healing. (8) But it was not all right in a small town. And my best friend, who was a lot like Jerome, it was not all right for him, either. It was very painful not being able to fit in with what was middle-class Japanese…Writing is very healing. (8)

31 Optional slide: Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers (book review) From kid-years when Lovey wants to look like Shirley Temple From kid-years when Lovey wants to look like Shirley Temple Fat girl humiliations of middle school Fat girl humiliations of middle school Loveys father: Loveys father: hunts wild meat hunts wild meat Raises a calf no one can bear to eat Raises a calf no one can bear to eat Unable to learn taxidermy after hes blinded by a backfiring rifle Unable to learn taxidermy after hes blinded by a backfiring rifle

32 Blus Hanging (Book #2) Publisher: Avon Books, Inc Publisher: Avon Books, Inc Copyright: 1997 Copyright: nd of the trilogy following Wild Meat 2 nd of the trilogy following Wild Meat

33 Synopsis of Blus Hanging: Ivah, 13, narrates this story Ivah, 13, narrates this story Three impoverished children struggling to survive on Molokai after the death of their mother Three impoverished children struggling to survive on Molokai after the death of their mother Ivah transfers to a private Honolulu high school from Molokai Ivah transfers to a private Honolulu high school from Molokai

34 Synopsis of Blus Hanging: continued Two tragic external factors: the rape and… Two tragic external factors: the rape and…

35 Blus Hangin When it first came out in 1997, the critics called it powerful, arresting and brilliant (5) When it first came out in 1997, the critics called it powerful, arresting and brilliant (5) Won the Fiction Award from the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) in 1997 Won the Fiction Award from the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) in 1997

36 Blus Hangin The award was later rescinded by AAAS; the book was later considered: racist The award was later rescinded by AAAS; the book was later considered: racist Depiction of a Filipino character – a rapist and child molester Depiction of a Filipino character – a rapist and child molester Filipino community in Hawaii complained that the character perpetuates a stereotype of Filipino men as sexual predators (5) Filipino community in Hawaii complained that the character perpetuates a stereotype of Filipino men as sexual predators (5)

37 An unnamed ethnic studies professor argued that Yamanakas representation of Filipino men in Blus Hanging was: …harmful to Filipino men, who are still largely ostracized from society, and that Yamanaka should have taken more care to indicate that she herself did not endorse these stereotypes. (4) …harmful to Filipino men, who are still largely ostracized from society, and that Yamanaka should have taken more care to indicate that she herself did not endorse these stereotypes. (4)

38 Blus Hanging: Other cirtiques … (Yamanakas) unmistakable talent – the originality and energy of her voice – tends to overwhelm ideological objections. (3) … (Yamanakas) unmistakable talent – the originality and energy of her voice – tends to overwhelm ideological objections. (3) 85 writers (including Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston) wrote letters in support of Blus Hanging 85 writers (including Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston) wrote letters in support of Blus Hanging

39 Poet David Mura on Blus Hanging: The purpose of writers is not to reproduce idealized portraits of the community. The AAAS is functioning like the thought police (5) The purpose of writers is not to reproduce idealized portraits of the community. The AAAS is functioning like the thought police (5)

40 Results of all this controversy All but one of the boards officers of the Association of Asian-American Studies resigned (5) All but one of the boards officers of the Association of Asian-American Studies resigned (5)

41 Yamanakas thoughts on controversy This has frightened me, …its gotten very personal. The distinction between the narrator and the author is not being made. People are telling me how to write…The critics have crept into my room and are peeping over my shoulder. (5) This has frightened me, …its gotten very personal. The distinction between the narrator and the author is not being made. People are telling me how to write…The critics have crept into my room and are peeping over my shoulder. (5)

42 Over time, however, Yamanaka says that she shaken by this controversy, but says the experience wont circumscribe her attempts at portraying the world as she sees it (1) says that she shaken by this controversy, but says the experience wont circumscribe her attempts at portraying the world as she sees it (1)

43 Father of Four Passages (book #3) Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Copyright: Copyright: Synopsis: Synopsis: Sonia Kurisu, youngest daughter youngest daughter of a Japanese – of a Japanese – American family American family living in Hilo living in Hilo 3

44 Father of Four Passages: Synopsis continued Sonia: Sonia: Difficult childhood Difficult childhood Stumbles through additions of drugs and men Stumbles through additions of drugs and men 3 abortions 3 abortions Gives birth to an autistic son Gives birth to an autistic son

45 Excerpt: Father of Four Passages Sonny Boy, son of Sonia, the only one I did not kill. Three, I killed. Number One in cartilaged pieces on a surgical tray. #2, like a dead feeder fish…. Sonny Boy, son of Sonia, the only one I did not kill. Three, I killed. Number One in cartilaged pieces on a surgical tray. #2, like a dead feeder fish…. Sonny Boy…stop your crying…Here is my hand to cover your mouth. Here are my fists to crush your skull. Do you want to die? …. Shh, they can hear you, godfuckingdammit. Sonny Boy…stop your crying…Here is my hand to cover your mouth. Here are my fists to crush your skull. Do you want to die? …. Shh, they can hear you, godfuckingdammit.

46 Father of Four Passages: Synopsis continued Sonia: Sonia: She will find her redemption in her love for …. She will find her redemption in her love for ….

47 Yamanaka: Yamanaka: It was a very difficult book to write because I had to stay honest. Sometimes I read these accounts of mothers with autistic children…They write this glorious story of overcoming difficulties. But I walk the difficulties, and I wanted that to come across. (1) It was a very difficult book to write because I had to stay honest. Sometimes I read these accounts of mothers with autistic children…They write this glorious story of overcoming difficulties. But I walk the difficulties, and I wanted that to come across. (1) Writing style: Father of Four Passages

48 Will not say which details of Sonias struggles match her own Will not say which details of Sonias struggles match her own …everything I write starts with some kind of kernel of truth, and then Ive got to make it bigger. (1) …everything I write starts with some kind of kernel of truth, and then Ive got to make it bigger. (1)

49 Book Reviews: Father of Four Passages uncompromising story of the tenaciousness of motherly love…and this is Yamanakas most challenging work to date. (2) uncompromising story of the tenaciousness of motherly love…and this is Yamanakas most challenging work to date. (2)

50 Picture bibliography images/yamanaka.jpg (1) (2) (3) (4)


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