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Counterattack of Eurasian Mixed-blood: Racial-Cultural Amalgamation and the Formation of a New Ethnic Identity in Patsy O’Wang

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2018, 31(1), pp.5-32
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Jungman Park 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Thomas Stewart Denison’s farce Patsy O’Wang(1895) presents a Chinese-Irish or ‘Eurasian’ mixed-blood cook Patsy O’Wang, who differentiates himself from traditional mixed-blood stage character types. He embodies a new pattern of racial-cultural amalgamation. The protagonist’s body blurs racial and biological boundaries. His hybrid identity serves as a self-defense weapon that disturbs the white gaze and control. His Eurasian identity, through strategic ambiguity, frustrates the white’s top-down control to fix him as a Chinese man. Patsy’s voluntary act of choosing and determining his own Irish identity taunts and provokes the prejudiced racial ideology of a white mainstream society that seeks to keep him within control. This play is valuable as a socio-cultural material that enables us to assess the status and American society’s perception of the Eurasian mixed-blood in the late 19th century. In particular, this play shows insights into the changing phases of racial hierarchy in the United States during the turn of the century, and the consequent changes in the status of Chinese and Irish immigrants. At the same time, in addition to exploring racial issues, this play anticipates the future direction of American society, which is the formation of ethnic identity based on cultural amalgamation. Transformation and evolution of identity performed by Patsy visualizes this formation effectively.

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