Cover

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Title

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I thank my colleagues and students in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University for their friendship and for providing a stimulating teaching and working environment. Thanks are due to the Research Office and the Vice-President: Academic for encouraging my project with course releases and with the University Research Professor award in 2015. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-26

The hashtags #Asian Fail, #failasian, and #Asianfailure on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter feature tweets, pictures, and anecdotes of Asians who “fail” at doing what Asians are supposed to be good at. Asians make insider jokes about their own inability to pick up food with chopsticks, to cook rice, or to shine at math and computers. ...

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1. Precarity and the Pursuit of Unhappiness

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pp. 27-43

Though different in style and genre, Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (2013), Mariko Tamaki’s novella Cover Me (2000), and her graphic novel Skim (2008, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki) all feature Japanese North American teens who struggle with identity issues, family instability, self-esteem, and depression. ...

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2. Que(e)rying the American Dream in Films of the Early Twenty-First Century

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pp. 44-60

Historically, representations of Asians in cinema in the United States and Canada can be divided into roughly five stages or forms. Initially, starting in the first half of the twentieth century, there were Hollywood Orientalist depictions of the exotic or menacing Asian. Notable characters from this period include Fu Man Chu, Charlie Chan, Butterfly, and dragon ladies (see Marchetti chaps. 1–2). ...

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3. Haunted Memories, Spaces, and Trauma: The Unsuccessful Immigrant

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pp. 61-83

This chapter looks at two novels that portray what might be viewed as unsuccessful immigrant stories of assimilation and integration. Lê thi diem thúy’s The Gangster We Are All Looking For (2003) and Madeleine Thien’s Certainty (2006) feature protagonists from war-torn countries in Southeast Asia—Vietnam and Borneo (later Malaysia)—who start new lives in North America but who carry with them painful and traumatic memories ...

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4. Representations of Aging in Asian Canadian Performance

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pp. 84-97

Our contemporary society views aging as an inevitable process characterized by a series of losses, by the slow decline of powers and prowess, and by the diminution of physical, mental skills, and cognitive function. In a world where beauty and ability are associated with the young, the aged are constantly urged to battle their bodily changes through makeup, medicine, surgery, and other kinds of treatments. ...

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5. Work, Depression, Failure

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pp. 98-114

In the last chapter, I examined how negative notions of old age and time were transformed and reconfigured in art through a film and a puppet performance. This chapter looks at repercussions of the sense of failure in two stories of second-generation Asian immigrant women who grew up assimilated into North American culture and became successful professionals but who experience a crisis and fall into depression. ...

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6. Gender, Post-9/11, and Ugly Feelings

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pp. 115-132

Chapter 5 looked at work-related depression and failure, and the ways in which professional labor in today’s corporate world shapes our contemporary subjectivities. When their professional lives do not work out as planned, the women in the works examined in that chapter suffer from psychic and emotional consequences, which they eventually resolve in part through artistic endeavours. ...

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Coda

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pp. 133-136

In the increasingly diverse and growing Asian American population, the chance of getting a psychiatric disorder, including depression, is estimated at 17.3 percent. While the rate is lower than the rates of other minorities, the cultural stigma around treatment, and the barriers to getting it, concerns public health officials (Kam). ...

Works Cited

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pp. 137-150

Index

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pp. 151-156

About the Author

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Further Series Titles

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