Constructing “The Third Space” On Eat a Bowl of Tea

  •  Lingmin Zhou    


Identity construction is always the motif of Chinese American literature. Many critical theories are adopted to analyze this issue. Homi K. Bhabha’s “the third space” is one of them. It refers to a place where it is not a combination of different positions, rather, it is “neither the One nor the Other but something else besides”. Eat a Bowl of Tea by Chinese American writer Louis Chu presents such Third Space. This paper first discusses the homogeneous old Chinatown culture which is patriarchal and impotent in Eat a Bowl of Tea and explains how Mei Oi causes the cultural split from this homogeneous culture by her independence and adultery. And then this paper discusses how the old Chinatown undergoes the cultural negotiation and finally realize its transformation. This paper points out that in this process of transformation, the characters construct their Third Space, which offers them hybrid identity and the sense of belonging.

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