112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Disrupting the Discourse of Language: Linda Hammerick's Secret Sense of Difference

Phuong Luu, California State University, Long Beach

Through Linda Hammerick, Monique Truong's Bitter in the Mouth speaks to how language shapes and defines our understanding of people of color, all the while, undermining and negating individualized differences of people of color. 


Asian American literature contextualizes the way in which identity is formed through the process of assimilation into American society, therefore Asian American literature subverts the Western literary canon . It also configures the negotiation of cultural and developmental practices through narratives, the disruption of the Western literary canon through such culturalist and developmentalist narratives, and the creation of a new literary genre and identity for Asian Americans. Within this discussion of ethnic literature, it is important to note how ethnic literature acknowledges and even encourages difference. This is the case for Monique Truong's Bitter in the Mouth, which denotes that long tradition of being and looking different. For Linda Hammerick, the tastes of words reflect her own phenotypical appearance. In other words, for Linda, the tastes of words is a pronounced difference and an internalized difference that results in not only her understanding of the world, but also herself. When placed within the discussion of ethnic literature and its element of heterogeneity, Linda possesses a difference of not only her phenotypical appearance, but also her lexical-gustatory synesthesia. Through her synesthesia, Linda generates a power that reveals her own agency within a dichotomous colonial system that discourages difference.