Type / Thesis

In the Shadows of the American Dream: A Study of Chang-rae Lee’s Writing of the Gesture Life

Chiung-huei Chang

Page / 71-96


Korean American writer Chang-rae Lee has created an unidiomatic English to entitle his second novel, A Gesture Life, for portraying a life with affectations and disillusionments. In fact, “a gesture life” could serve as the title for Lee’s first three novels since all his “admirable” protagonists lead a life with neither sincerity nor affections, mainly due to their long-suppressed trauma and their obsession of pursuing the American dream. This essay will firstly explicate how “a gesture life” denotes a modern allegory by comparing and contrasting it with passing, mimicry, double-consciousness and impersonation, and then present a reading of Lee’s novels, so as to examine Lee’s reflection on the American Dream.

Keywords : Chang-rae Lee, American dream, Native Speaker, A Gesture Life, Aloft
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