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English Diaspora Literature Written by Chinese Writers in North America and Their Literary Traditions: An Analysis of Ha Jin and Yan Li’s Literary Works

Cai Xiaohui

Ha Jin and Yan Li are both Chinese writers in North America who write in their second language, namely, English, and have achieved their literary fame. Their literary productions manifest two different facets and conventions of English diasporic writing in North America: Yan Li’s shows more affiliation with Chinese literary tradition and is in line with the literary convention of “writing based on personal experience”, which is generally motivated by the Western context and aims to tell the Western readers a true China and promote cultural communication and mutual understanding; whereas Ha Jin’s writing represents the literary endeavor to transcend or dilute Chinese ethnicity and focus more on the literariness of the literary works, which bears strong influence of the Western literary training and therefore, can readily merge into the Western literary tradition.