Critical Insights: American Multicultural Identity

Critical Insights Series

The series focuses on an individual author's entire body of work, a single work of literature, or a literary theme.

At a Glance
  • 1 Volume; 300 Pages
  • 10-14 essays offering Current Critical Analysis by Top Literary Scholars
  • Introductory Essay by the Editor
  • Additional Works on Theme
  • Detailed Bio of the Editor
  • General Bibliography
  • General Subject Index
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Editor: Linda Moser & Kathryn West
September 2014 · 1 volume · 300 pages · 6"x9"

Includes Online Database with Print Purchase
ISBN: 978-1-61925-407-7
# of Pages: 300
# of Volumes: 1
Print List Price: $105
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e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-408-4
eBook Single User Price: $105

Great starting point for students seeking an introduction to the theme and the critical discussions surrounding it.

The cultural diversity of the United States makes it impossible to describe American identity as homogenous or monolithic. The sense of belonging to multiple cultures and its relationship to identity are central concerns in literary works by African, Native, Asian, Latino/a, and other ethnic Americans. While some prioritize one culture over another, others emphasize the space in between, to insist on a balance between the two, or to express a feeling of being in-between, or the inability to participate in either side, as so brilliantly evoked in Sui Sin Far’s description: “I give my right hand to the Occidentals and my left to the Orientals, hoping that between them they will not utterly destroy the insignificant ‘connecting link.’”

In multicultural America, identity can be complicated, confusing, even frustrating while at the same time inspiring new perspectives, creativity, and a rich source of pride. This volume features studies of works as diverse as Sherman Alexie’s National Book Award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Gish Jen’s Mona in the Promised Land, and the lesser known but equally powerful Real Women Have Curves by Josefina Lopéz. Also offered are essays exploring cultural and historical contexts including one by Annette Harris Powell on the changing politics of hyphenation in the United States and its literature over the course of the 20th century.

Each essay is 2,500 to 5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes. Finally, the volume's appendixes offer a section of useful reference resources:

About This Volume
Critical Context: Original Introductory Essays
Critical Readings: Original In-Depth Essays
Further Readings
Detailed Bibliography
Detailed Bio of the Editor
General Subject Index