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Teachers College Press
Learning from My Mother's Voice: Family Legend and the Chinese American Experience / Edition 1

Learning from My Mother's Voice: Family Legend and the Chinese American Experience / Edition 1


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This fascinating book takes a new and different look at the immigrant experience of Asian Americans and shows how themes of separation, loss, guilt, and bicultural identity are pervasive in the lives of immigrant families. In Part I, the author introduces the reader to a wealth of old and new myths, symbols, and legends that have shaped the lives of these families for generations. She then shows how these powerful stories and images have worked to both sustain and oppress Chinese Americans as they've struggled to build new lives here.

In Part II, the author captures the immigrant experience of many Chinese American families through the voice of her mother, Fung Gor Lee, who arrived in America in 1939 from Hong Kong. Grounded in the trials and tests of forbearance faced by many Asian immigrants in their journey to the west-from the Gold Rush in California during the 1850s, to the Japanese invasion of China, through World War II, communism and McCarthyism, and finally the civil rights and the women's movements of the 1960s-this moving account will resonate with all Americans who have immigrant roots.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807745519
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Publication date: 02/25/2005
Series: Multicultural Foundations of Psychology and Counseling Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)

About the Author

Jean Lau Chin, EdD, ABPP is a professor of psychology at Adelphi University in New York. She was the first Asian to be a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts and has held extensive leadership roles including Dean at Adelphi University and Alliant International University, and Executive Director of South Cove Community Health Center and the Thom Clinic in Boston.

Table of Contents

Part IFamily Saga and Cultural Legend5
1Mythology and Storytelling: Of Women, Family, and Culture7
Creation Myths: In the Beginning7
Myths of Women10
Male-Female Bonds14
Family and Generational Bonds17
The Journey: Transformation19
Journey to the West: Immigration24
2Contemporary Storytelling and Immigration Legend27
The Creation of Legend: Warrior Images27
The Woman Warrior: Chinese American Paradox30
Mother-Daughter Bonds: Family Saga31
Western Myths of Asian Women36
Bicultural Identity: Be Chinese! You Are an American!38
Creating Immigration Legends38
Golden Mountain Myth: The Search40
3Cultural Symbols: Universal Bonds42
Food Symbols: Bonds Between People42
Animal Symbols: Character Traits44
Rituals: Promoting Harmony and Good Fortune47
The Chinese Banquet: Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise53
Women as Healers56
Words as Symbols: A Study of Contrasts58
Part IIBiculturalism: Contrasts Between Cultures63
4Of Survival and Striving: An Intergenerational Saga65
In the Beginning: The Floods66
An Intergenerational Saga: In My Mother's Voice66
Memories of China: The Journey68
Preparing for America74
5Day by Day: Of Women and Culture89
America the Melting Pot: The Immigration Legend90
Defining Moments: Of Families and Culture97
Chinatown: Family and Community Bonds104
6Traveling to the Future: Connecting with the Past113
History and Now: Ancestry Revisited113
Neverending Themes: Immigrant Bonds120
The Search and the Journey122
Part IIITransformation and Enlightenment127
7Of Bonds and Bondage129
Identity and Bonding129
Chinese American Identity130
Poverty Amidst Plenty133
Freedom: Learning from My Mother's Voice139
8Of Intergenerational Bonds: Lessons142
Counseling Chinese American Immigrant Families: Implications143
Reinforce the Two Faces of Woman144
Expand Our Notions of Family147
Achieving a Positive Identity148
Storytelling: A Method of Healing150
9The Future155
About the Author167

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