Lily in Timothy Mo's Sour Sweet

Sinan AKILLI, M.A., Hacettepe University, Turkey.

[Part 6 of "Culture of Balance and Balance of Cultures: A Gendered Approach to Cross-Cultural Adaptation Process in Timothy Mo's Sour Sweet. Note: In-text citations refer to the bibliography, which opens in a separate window.]

The most important female character in Sour Sweet is Lily, daughter of a famous Buddhist temple boxer, wife of Chen, and mother of Man Kee. She is also the central character around whom most of the action revolves. Before her marriage and immigration to Britain, Lily has had a rather difficult and strange childhood experience. The reason behind these difficulties has been the fact that "their mother had not produced a son, had died giving birth to her second daughter [that is Lily]" (11). This had left their father without a son or the possibility of having one someday. Since her elder sister "Mui had [already] been brought up as a girl with the not unreasonable end in view that she should become a woman" (10), their father had chosen Lily to make up for the absence of a son. Thus, at the age of five Lily began to be instructed by her father in Chinese boxing. During her education in Chinese boxing, she has been exposed to very hard and painful physical practices, that were not usually expected from a girl to learn.

Her father made no concessions to his pupil. He had the child squatting in a low crouch for an hour at a time with legs apart as far as they could stretch, using two daggers stuck in the ground as markers. On her head he balanced a full earthenware wine jar of the smaller type (a hard man, he was also a realist). At the same time he lightly rapped Lily's shins with a bamboo staff. Tears would be pouring down the girl's face half-way through her ordeal, her thigh muscles apparently on fire, the pain in her shins almost a welcome distraction from the major agony. (11)

To see her education in Chinese boxing in a more optimistic light, however, one may presume that her experience gave her not only physical pain, but also a strong resistance ability as well as a deep and true understanding of traditional Chinese philosophy at the core of which was the idea of keeping the "balance" between opposites and extremities no matter what the situation. Through the course of the novel, her understanding of Chinese philosophy and way of life helps her to live up to a genuine Chinese identity, both as a wife and as a mother, and achieve a state of balance, which is illustrated by her preoccupation with the keeping of the balance between yin and yang. Perhaps a brief explanation about the philosophy of yin and yang would make this argument easier to understand.

Accoridn to by Fung Yu-Lan, the philosophy of yin and yang "tried to explain natural phenomena both in terms of time and space, and furthermore maintained that these phenomena are closely interrelated with human conduct" (134). Yu-Lan adds that the word

yang originally meant sunshine, or what pertains to sunshine and light; that of yin meant the absence of sunshine, i.e., shadow or darkness. In later development, the Yang and Yin came to be regarded as two cosmic principles or forces, respectively representing masculinity, activity, heat, brightness, dryness, hardness, etc., for the Yang, and femininity, passivity, cold, darkness, wetness, softness, etc., for the Yin. (138)

Similarly, Kenneth Scott Latourette, who sees the philosophy of yin and yang as a fundamental part of the "popular religion" of the Chinese, puts that the "yin stood for Earth, the moon, darkness, evil and the female sex" and the yang represented "Heaven, the sun, light, fire, goodness, and the male sex" (551). Yu-Lan puts that all phenomena of the universe are produced through the interaction of these two primary principles, which complete each other (138, 142). The importance of this philosophy of nature in the lives of the Chinese is that "man's conduct should be in harmony with the way of nature" (Yu-Lan 134). In general it may be stated that the Chinese philosophy of the yin and yang is about the forces that are at work in the production of natural phenomena and that it foresees the balancing of the opposites both in nature and in human conduct.

In Timothy Mo's novel Lily maybe seen as representing this "balance." When looked from the view point of post-colonial theory, this state of balance -- itself being achieved by the harmonious co-existence of opposites, which is also implied by the title of the novel, Sour Sweet -- accomplished by Lily would be a true example of hybridity. From the perspective of cultural transplantation and adaptation, it can be argued that it is again her true cognition of the essence of this Chinese philosophy of balance, also explained by A. Y. Han who puts that "Chinese culture emphasizes harmony in relationships, avoiding conflict at all costs" (qtd. in Tang and Dion 22), which helps Lily to achieve, eventually, a bicultural British Chinese identity in a multicultural British society.

For this reason, the reader is introduced at the outset of the novel to a Lily who moves safely from the "crises phase" into "the adjustment and reorientation phase" of Winkelman's cultural transplantation process (123), a phase only those who survive the "crises phase" can reach. Of course, this does not mean that Lily does not experience the "crises phase." Thus far in tghis discussion, the experience of the "crises phase" has been associated with the male characters in the novel. One may argue that the reason for Lily's sharing a common experience with the male characters is the male influence exerted by her father on her personality in her childhood. Until she reached puberty Lily was treated as a son, not as a daughter, and this had an impact on her personality. Nevertheless, Lily's experience of the "crises phase" as a female is different from that of male characters. Unlike her husband Chen, Lily is not static and towards the end of Sour Sweet she is able to accomplish a successful cultural transplantation, thereby moving to "the adaptation, resolution, or acculturation stage" (Winkelman 123). In order to monitor the progress in Lily, she should be analysed in the light of the characteristics of these three categories.

The only symptoms of the "crises phase" that can be observed in Lily are the finding of "reasons to dislike and criticize the culture," and the practising of "reparative and maintenance behaviors" (qtd. in Winkelman 123). Obviously, Lily does not experience this phase very deeply. Compared with Chen, for instance, she does not have "a sense of lack of control of one's life," one's feeling "helpless, confused, and disliked by others," and lastly, yet more importantly, the wish "to go home" (Winkelman 123).

Her dislike and criticism of English people, whom she calls "foreign devils" or "Westerners" with a derogatory connotation, and their culture appears in the early and middle sections of the novel. While searching in an inner-city area for a building they can rent to use as a take-away restaurant, they pass by an open fire left unattended in the middle of the street where

Lily took a last look at the fire, still burning in isolation, with nobody so much as throwing one extra plank on it or even enjoying its heat. How strange the English were, how indifferent, how careless of the consequences of their own deeds! And as for their attitude to their old people it was nothing less than shameful neglect, a national disgrace. (85-86)

When they start their own Chinese take-away, the duty of attending the counter is given to Lily, which naturally gives way to her more frequent exchanges with English people and culture and also gives her an opportunity to observe and criticise them. Here is an example of Lily's dislike of the English customers:

On Friday nights after eleven o'clock there were often no spaces left and their customers, mostly young people, lounged against the wall. This explained the uneven line of grease smudges at the head height along the three walls. Taking down and calling out the orders ('One egg fu yung ready,' or 'You giving three shilling sixpence, please'), Lily felt like asking them to stand up straight. How would you like it if I leant on your wall with my head, Mr Pink Face Young Devil? (135)

Her criticism is not limited to the notion of cleanliness of the English and sometimes she criticises the young English boys and girls visiting their restaurant, in terms of their habits and life styles:

She was frightened of the rowdies who came in the worse for drink after the public houses shut. Only once -- thank god -- has a group run out without paying. Terrible, shocking. How could they have such a degraded sense of their responsibilities?. . . What possible sense of decency and family honour could those reckless girls have? All running round together until a scandalous hour. . . . No wonder they were always getting themselves pregnant. (136-137)

After observing English behaviour, which she considers corruption, she comes to the conclusion that "Really, there was no question how superior Chinese people were to the foreign devils" (137). Nevertheless, one has to remember that Lily's harsh criticisms soften as she moves into the "adjustment phase" towards the end of the novel, and will be replaced by a state of reconciliation when she is "adapted" at the end.

Lily's other symptom that goes into the area of the "crises phase" is her "maintenance and reparative behaviours." However, one should be very careful in examining Lily's motivations and attitudes with regard to the degree and results of these behaviours. Unlike Chen's false maintenance of cultural patterns, Lily's conservation of the basics of her culture is actualised. She is a devout practitioner. Moreover, she can be flexible in practising her culture, flexibility itself being regarded by Lily as a Chinese attribute. It follows that the results of her clinging to cultural patterns are not destructive but reconciliatory and constructive. This, in reality, is the reason why she can survive the "crises phase" and eventually become successful in terms of transplanting herself into an alien soil. To illustrate this argument, Lily should be analysed as a practitioner of her culture in her major identities: a Chinese daughter, later a Chinese daughter-in-law, a Chinese wife, and a Chinese mother.

As has been explained earlier, Lily's relationship with her own father was a form of instructor-pupil relationship, as well as a father-daughter relationship as defined by the Chinese culture. Until puberty, Lily's father treated her as he would treat a son, and when her instruction in Chinese boxing stopped, even that strange link was lost. As a result, there were not any emotional ties constructed between Lily and her father. Yet, this can be seen as being normal according to Chin, who explains that "the father-daughter relationship is less charged emotionally. After all, in the traditional system the father could afford to treat his daughter with greater indulgence because of the impermanence of her membership in the family" (95). As a matter of fact, this "impermanence" can be observed in Lily's case, who after her marriage with Chen becomes a member of the Chen family. Because she knew that was a part of her culture, Lily's attitude towards such naturalisation in another family was quite positive and she would pay utmost attention to adapt herself into this. When she was experimenting with different addresses to her husband, for example, she considered that "'Ah Chen' was also a distancing term. Being Chen's family name, it also implied a reversion to the state of affairs prior to the marriage and separated Lily Tang from the Chen's" (40). Thus, her allegiance as a daughter shifts smoothly from her dead father to Chen's father.

Lily's sensibility in terms of regular, prompt remittance to Chen's parents has already been discussed. Moreover, one should remember, Lily herself assumed the responsibility of meeting Chen's father at the airport on his arrival from Hong Kong, thereby honouring him. The overall attitude of Lily about the treatment of Chen's father is an evidence of her efficiency in practising her culture, too.

Lily was not displeased. Having the old man live with them completed the structure of the new life she had made for herself. She found it fulfilling: wife, mother, and now dutiful daughter-in-law. In taking on these new and successively more demanding roles she had a sense of advance in her life. Respect for age had always been a fundamental moral principle with her. She looked forward to the chance of putting her ideals into practice..." (208)

Accordingly, she arranges a room of their house for "Father" and decorates it in the best possible way so as to make the old man feel as comfortable as possible. In the following days, she makes sure that "Grandpa" is in good health and always gives him the best part of any meals they have. Her respect for the elderly, an attitude on the basis of which she always criticises English people, is thus put sincerely into practice.

Lily is also a perfect Chinese wife, who is dedicated to her "Husband," and she acts according to the code of behaviour expected to be followed by her as a wife. Although she has the dominant position in the relationship, not even once she acts in a way that may suggest or imply the in-reality-subordinated authority of her husband. "Nor was it something Lily would admit to herself, at least not in rationalised form, although at the level of 'female intuition' she had an inkling, though it was severely repressed" (15). Hall supports this view by arguing that Lily's attitude is an example of how typically "Mo's female characters subvert the patriarchal intent of the family life while maintaining its form" (96).

To see some examples of her awareness of the code of behaviour expected from a Chinese wife, one may look at some instances of her domestic life. Although she knew, for instance, that Chen comes home having had his dinner at the restaurant where he works, "Lily still went ahead and prepared broth, golden-yellow with floating oily rings, and put it before her husband when he returned. She felt she would have been failing her wifely duties otherwise" (2). The way she pays attention even to the smallest details in playing her wifely role is quite another proof: "Chen was only a quarter of an inch taller than his wife and shorter when she dressed in shoes with slight heels. At home she wore flat Chinese slippers, thus physically exemplifying domestic inferiority" (15-16).

As a mother, too, Lily seems to fit into the picture of a typical Chinese woman. She is always a caring mother, who makes sure that Man Kee is fed and clothed in the best way possible. "Man Kee ate with his mother and aunt and fed well. His portions of chopped liver and fish were small but amounted to more than the total food bill of the two women...To exercise his feet, she made sure he wore no shoes in the house (Jumping Jacks for outside, no expense spared)" (3, 4). Most importantly, Lily approaches her son Man Kee with deep motherly affection. Unlike Chen, "who, much to Lily's irritation, never lost an opportunity to point out [Man Kee's head] to visitors" (3), she is proud of Man Kee and she does not see the disproportionate size of the boy as a matter of loss of "face" in society. When, she learns about the coming of Chen's father, for instance, "she looked forward to showing off to Husband's father...the old man's grandson. He must love son immediately, the boy was so good-looking" (208).

The future that Lily plans for Man Kee is also characteristic of her progressive approach towards life. In contrast to Chen, Lily is interested in the happiness of Man Kee and thanks to her foresight can understand the necessity of a good education for her son's future life. Lily is aware of the fact that only through education that Man Kee can climb up the social ladder, which is especially true given that they are immigrants in another country where they do not have a background. Education has a very important place in Chinese culture, too. Lily also believes that Man Kee should not be altogether alienated from his own culture and thus persuades Chen to send Man Kee to supplementary Chinese classes at weekends. Evaluating in her mind the Chinese school she finds for man Kee she thinks that "the premises were not prepossessing but who cared when the core of the curriculum, the great heritage of Chinese language and culture, was such a priceless acquisition" (237). To put it differently, "both Lily and Chen had their ambitions for Man Kee.... Lily wanted him to be a professional man, perhaps an accountant (a calling which seemed increasingly honourable and lucrative to her these days), while Chen wanted him to follow in an expanded restaurant business" (166). Yet, Lily's project is the correct one that can provide Man Kee with the kind of education he needs if he is to be an accepted bicultural member of a multicultural society.

To sum up the analysis of Lily as a character in the comparatively calm and trouble-free "crises phase" of her transplantation into the British soil, one may reaffirm that apart from some minor symptoms of this phase, Lily survives her initial encounter due to both her own strength of personality and also due to her knowledge of the basics of Chinese culture, which promotes "balance" and "flexibility." The conceptions of "balance" and "flexibility" implanted in her personality through the yin and yang philosophy carry her safely into the "adjustment phase."

The function and importance of the "adjustment, and reorientation phase" are explained by Winkelman as follows:

The phase is concerned with learning how to adjust effectively to the new cultural environment. Resolution of cultural shock lies in learning how to make an acceptable adaptation to the new culture. [Some individuals] use various forms of isolation, for example, living in an ethnic enclave and avoiding substantial learning about the new culture, a typical lifetime reaction of many first-generation immigrants. If one desires to function effectively, however, then it is necessary to adjust and adapt. (123)

As Winkelman explains, an immigrant's adjustment requires a positive, progressive and practical attitude towards the culture of the host country. He states that in this phase

One develops problem-solving skills for dealing with the culture and begins to accept the culture's ways with a positive attitude. The culture begins to make sense, and negative reactions and responses to the culture are reduced as one recognizes that problems are due to the inability to understand, accept, and adapt. An appreciation of the other culture begins to emerge and learning about it becomes a fun challenge. During the adjustment phase the problems do not end, but one develops a positive attitude toward meeting the challenge of resolving the issues necessary to function in the new culture. (123)

In "Fiction and the Immigrant Experience," John Lye, who calls the same phase "negotiation," explains it as a process

In which the self in a move something like hybridization integrates patterns of behaviour and belief from two cultures, in a sense 'making up' a blended culture which makes sense, accepting what is possible of the new but at times under the signs or in the patterns or tracks of the old. (1)

Whether one terms it "adjustment" or "negotiation," the fact is that the uprooted immigrant in an alien society has to learn how to reconcile the two cultures to become a successful member of the host society. Then, Lily, who is described by Hall as being "the heart of the family" and as having "ambitions for the future" (95) -- such as "Man Kee's education, a motor-car, a bigger television, maybe a colour set" (7) -- fits these behavioural patterns. As has been argued earlier, Lily advances to a state of adaptation by meeting the requirements of this adjustment phase, too. In order to mark many of these behaviours of adjustment in Lily's life, one may examine some instances of her experiences and attitudes, again, first as a Chinese person, then as a Chinese daughter and wife.

Perhaps an interesting example of the change in her attitude would be the alteration of approach to items specific to the Chinese. For example she easily accepts her sister's solution to the problem created by Man Kee's school attendance during Lunar New Year. Because Chinese New Year is not a public holiday in Britain, Mui suggests they should have "have a little celebration of [their] own" on the Lunar New Year, and to have a holiday on Christmas as well so that Man Kee would be with them. Lily thinks that "was one of the first sensible things she had said to Lily in a long time. It wouldn't actually be ante-dating New Year for their own convenience, just pretending to; a workable distinction for Lily" and "such flexibility, Lily told herself, was typically Chinese" (174-175).

Another case invoves the figure of a Chinese god, which they keep at their small take-away restaurant. In an earlier section of the novel, the god, who was a symbol of her preservation of cultural authenticity, stood for a reminder for Lily of her own culture and the code of behaviour foreseen by it. Thus, when she planned the arrangement of the rooms of their new building, she made sure that they first decorated their shop, not their own rooms. The reason is that "in front of that stern deity it would have been unthinkable to have worked for personal comforts first. That would have courted extreme bad luck" (93). As Lily adjusts, however, her perception of the "authenticity" of the god alters, as well. Later in the novel, when carrying out a ritual, that is intended to prevent bad luck, by lighting incense sticks in front of the god, Lily is again seen as practising her culture, but this time "bearing in mind that he [the god] was an adoptive Londoner" (180). Thus, the god and the television -- two objects situated in the opposite corners of the room so as to act as symbols of the "opposition" between the two cultures -- in time become transformed into a symbol of the "balance" achieved between traditional Chinese and modern English cultures.

In all the examples of Lily's changing attitudes toward the English and their culture, which provides this balance, she attempts to rationalise, understand, and come to terms with them. During the course of this process of adjustment, for instance, she thinks that "maybe 'mince, jam tart, and custard' always given to Man Kee at school, which she despises earlier, "was simply a generic term for food -- as one said 'eat rice' instead of simply 'eat' in the traditional evening greeting of the south [of Hong Kong]?...She wished Son was still eating it" (172, 249). In another instance, for Grandpa's guests who come to visit the old man after his stay at the hospital for breaking his hip bone, Lily herself prepares mince as it "would be easy: not so different from some Chinese dishes" (249). Moreover, Lily's response to the kind treatment of Grandpa by the English people and the behaviour of the customers of their restaurant when Mr. Chen is brought back from the hospital, show how her attitudes change:

A few days later a green bus-type ambulance came (no light, no siren). There were other old people inside. Ambulancemen helped Grandpa in and they all drove off...Despite herself, Lily was impressed. Of course help from the State couldn't be compared with the loving care of one's own family but the English had slightly redeemed themselves in her eyes...[While Grandpa was entering the restaurant] the customers respectfully stepped back on either side, creating a sort of avenue of welcome. (244, 246)

Now the English are referred to by Lily as "foreign devil friends" (253). Her altered attitudes appears in Lily's exchanges with customers at the counter, which function as a reconciliatory experience, thereby proving false the argument of both Laura Hall and David Parker that the take-away counter is a symbolic barrier between the Chinese and English worlds (Hall 95; Parker 85).

The reasons for Lily's success in overcoming the adjustment phase are not limited to changing attitudes. Her development of problem-solving skills and practical solutions in her encounters with the authorities of the host country are also important because by solving the problems that stem from the social rules of the host country, Lily functions successfully in society. When Mui disagrees with Lily, who proposes to drive without having a licence first, Lily says "'I shall put a little tea money in a plastic folder. That'll be my licence Mui'" (152). Although Mui, who draws her examples from the characters in TV programmes, opposes further by explaining that English police-force is so perfect that they would not be bribed, Lily says that reality is different. Lily's realistic approach, which to the surprise of Mui proves true later in the novel when Lily escapes punishment by bribing a police officer, can be considered as typical of the achievement of a rational middle course between things, that is adaptation, rather than of accepting and admiring everything alien as absolute truths, that is assimilation.

The transformation of Lily's cultural identity appears in her other identities, too. Accordingly, her behaviours as a Chinese daughter are also subject to change. The most concrete example of this is seen when Lily prevents Grandpa from smoking in a way that would be perceived even by herself as being disrespectful if she did it before. This takes place during the party Grandpa gives for his friends, when

The old people were, indeed, as she had feared, having tea. Grandpa had made another cigarette. Unfortunately, it was making the old ladies cough. Tears were pouring down one old person's cheek; most distressing. Lily snatched the cigarette out of Grandpa's mouth without a word of apology stubbed it out in a bowl of custard. No one was to get asphyxiated in her shop. Air was what old lungs needed now. (252)

Given the fact that the elderly, and especially the male ancestors, are virtually worshipped in traditional Chinese culture, Lily's behaviour would be unacceptable. But, since Lily now sees things from different perspectives, she does not hesitate to break the rules of her culture. After all, her intention is to protect the health of her guests as well as that of her father-in-law.

As for the manner of the relationship between Lily and Husband during her "adjustment," it may be argued that both Lily's domination and Chen's retreat continues increasingly to a climax towards the end of the novel, shortly after which Lily becomes the only authority in the house when Chen disappears. Again the climax arises out of the opposition between Lily and Chen concerning Man Kee's future life, which also symbolises the future of the whole Chen family and even of all Chinese immigrants in Britain. John Lye argues that such conflicts between spouses stem from the fact that they "differently adapt to the new or imagined standards of the new culture...and attempt to assert their identity by acts harmful to the relationship" (1). Indeed, in the climactic action in Sour Sweet Lily asserts her new identity strongly. Basically, the case is that one day Lily asks Man Kee what he wants to be when he grows up. His answer is " 'Want to be a gardener'" (255). Then Lily becomes furious both about her son's answer and the way Chen supports him. In her anger, Lily rebels against the already-diminished authority of her husband and of the traditional ways of thinking and in one of the most symbolic moments of the novel she attempts to break all her ties with the cultural origin that defines her roles:

She looked into the dark garden, her own eyes blurring and a lump forming in her throat. As bitter tears began to come, she opened the back door and strode down to the end of the garden, guided by the smell of the compost-heap. She put her hands round Man Kee's mango plant and tugged at it. It would not come up. She bent her knees and pulled with her back as well as her arms. There was a subterranean tearing, the sound of small roots, tendrils, and delicate fibres shearing and snapping. Still it wouldn't come. Lily took a deep breath. She wiped cold sweat from her forehead. She strained, fighting the plant with her whole body. With louder vegetable groanings it began to come out of the earth. Another long pull and then the plant was uprooted with a single loud snap that seemed to come out of her own body, so that for a moment Lily wondered if she had cracked her own vertebrae. She didn't care. (255)

Lily's act of rebellion derives its importance from the fact that it does not only symbolise her wish to get rid of the irrational codes of her own culture, represented by the mango tree here, that cannot be used in adapting to an alien soil, but also stands for her assertion of their being uprooted individuals in an alien society where they would be needing more than a symbolic transplantation into the new soil. In other words, Lily's deed conveys the idea that it is the human beings, the members of the family, that need to be transplanted and in a more sophisticated manner, not a mango plant symbolic of the Chinese culture. In view of this, the latter should be sacrificed for the success of the former. To illustrate this idea, one may turn to the similar and rather pessimistic conclusion arrived by Oscar Handlin: "For every freedom won, a tradition lost" (12). However, with regard to the present social psychological parameters, the sacrifice mentioned above should not be regarded as a "loss," but as a gain for an immigrant subject, in this case Lily, who is to achieve cross-cultural adaptation. Likewise, Lily's loss of Chen at the end of the novel can also be seen as a gainful sacrifice, an idea which is also asserted by Lily, who, in ignorance of her husband's death, ironically thinks that he is working in another country to send them money: "'A true father. He makes any sacrifice for his son'" (272).

Nevertheless, the resolution of the climax by the disappearance of Chen and its aftermath, coincides with the completion of the process of cross-cultural adaptation on the part of Lily. Winkelman defines the last part of this process as "the adaptation, resolution, or acculturation stage" and explains it as follows:

This stage is achieved as one develops stable adaptations in being successful at resolving problems and managing the new culture. There are many different adaptation options, especially given diverse individual characteristics and will acculturate and may undergo substantial personal change through cultural adaptation and development of a bicultural identity. It is important to recognize and accept the fact that an effective adaptation will necessarily change one, leading to the development of a bicultural identity and the integration of new cultural aspects into one's previous self-concept. (123)

As Winkelman emphasised, the most essential aspect of the adaptation stage involves a change in the self-concept of the individual. Likewise, the decisive moment in Lily's successful transplantation into English soil comes when she can define a new identity by herself and for herself:

She realised she was content with what her life has become...Surely Husband hadn't weighed on her like that? He was such a quiet, self-effacing man. But it was as if a stone had been taken off her and she had sprung to what her height should have been. She thought she had found a balance of things for the first time, yin cancelling yang; discovered it not by going to the centre at once -- which was a prude's way and untypical of her -- but by veering to the extremes and then finding the still point of equilibrium. (278)

Lily's successful transplantation into the socio-cultural environment of Britain obviosuly has its liberating impacts on both her and Man Kee's future. The state of balance found by Lily is, in reality, what is called sour sweet by Timothy Mo, "adaptation" by Winkelman (123), "hybridity" by Bhabha (1994), the state of being "within and between two worlds" or "cross-culturality" by Hall (90), an identity which is formed by deriving from "the best of both worlds" by Parker (182), and "successful cultural transplantation" in this study. Although these terms differ slightly, they all refer to the creation of a bicultural identity. More importantly, in Sour Sweet this bicultural identity is achieved by a female character, Lily, in a completely alien culture in which she is two times disadvantaged by her immigrant condition and her female identity.

Other parts of this study

United Kingdom Overview Mo's Sour Sweet

Last modified 15 May 2003