In the climax of the novel Native Speaker, Henry, the protagonist, rejects the role he has played to disenfranchise Korean Americans and embraces a new path forward. The author explores the conflicting ideals of assimilating into American culture, maintaining an authentic identity, and determining what authentic identity is for a Korean American. Henry has been struggling with an impending divorce, the grief of losing a child, and a profound reflection on his role as a spy against his own people. As the novel concludes, he realizes another path forward for him and his estranged wife, Lelia. The choice to disengage from a profession that has pitted Henry against his cultural background allows him to reevaluate his life and work to help the Korean community alongside his wife. Their new purpose reignites the meaning in their relationship and shifts Henry’s perspective on what it means to be a first-generation immigrant in modern American society.
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In Native Speaker, Kwang seems to share an earnestness to uplift all minority groups because it will benefit Koreans and all others. What do you make of his involvement with the Korean storeowner...
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How does the last chapter offer a non-political alternative to John Kwang’s vision of multiculturalism?