The aim of this essay is to explore the trauma of incest in Patricia Chao’s Monkey King, a novel which places sexual abuse in a context of racism and a history of immigration through the intertextual use of the Chinese Monkey King narrative. It will focus specifically on the trope of survival which is a core feature of trauma theory and Asian American literature alike, and because it is also a reality for Asian Americans, it functions as cultural representation and social critique in Monkey King. Ultimately, I will argue that the novel’s act of breaking the silence of sexual abuse, often culturally reduced to untellable in the Chinese American family story, makes the novel an act of survival and resistance within American literature, implicating readers as witnesses to guarantee its literary and cultural survival.


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pp. 80-98
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