chapter  2
17 Pages

Fae Myenne Ng’s San Francisco Chinatown as a Social Space of Legal Discrimination


Fae Myenne Ng’s novels, Bone (1993) and Steer toward Rock (2008), center on characters and events in Chinatown, San Francisco. Ng’s meticulous description represents the environment as a space that shapes and records the history of Chinese American experience. The material realities of this space narrate the full impact of discriminatory legislation on the Chinese American family. In other words, Chinatown in Ng’s novels is a repository of material and psychic sediments of legislative racism against Chinese immigrants. Ng achieves historical realism in both novels largely through the representation of San Francisco Chinatown as a social space produced and reproduced by discriminatory immigration laws and their subversion by Chinese and Chinese Americans.