Creative: JongsaratCritical: Christianity and the Canon: Reading the Chinese American Canon through the Sacred

  • Kathrina Haji Mohd Daud

Student thesis: Phd


Creative:Jongsarat is a full-length fictional novel set in Brunei. It follows the lives of two cousins as they struggle with the same decision over the course of one summer. Rijal, the black sheep of the family, must try to come to terms with his fears and his troubled past when he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. Hana, the family's golden girl and hope for the future, fights to keep her own sins a secret as she faces losing her boyfriend to his growing love for God. Set against the backdrop of a country in which reputation and religion are inextricably intertwined, and in which traditional values are struggling to stay alive, Rijal and Hana must find a way to understand the future that they are fighting for. Jongsarat is fundamentally an exploration of the challenges traditional social and religious structures are facing as they struggle to shape modern-day Brunei. It is a study of how, when traditional culture is uninformed by the heart of religion, it leads to disenfranchisement and the hollowness of ritual. It is a story about the ways in which everyday families have to cope with the hopes and expectations each generation places on the next in an ever-changing world. Critical: By exploring the reasons why study of the religious trope has been so neglected in Chinese American literary study, this thesis seeks to understand the critical paradigms which have dominated and shaped Chinese American literary discourses. This thesis will do this by looking seriously at the history of the formation of Chinese American literature and critical study, and the ways in which it has been influenced by American social and political movements such as the feminist and civil rights movements. Having established the state of Chinese American literature and literary discourse, the thesis will then go on to examine the ways in which these external influences have caused grave misreadings which have severely limited the scope and understanding of critical discourse. This thesis will then correct these misreadings by using Amy Tan's works as a case study for performing a critical reading of the religious trope in order to open critical discourse up to new and alternative readings that will ensure the continuation of fresh, relevant and vibrant dialogue within Chinese American critical study.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIan Mcguire (Supervisor) & Anastasia Valassopoulos (Supervisor)


  • chinese american literature religion
  • novel brunei fiction

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