The Cultural Dilemma of the Yemeni and Chinese Migrants: Mohammad Abdulwali’s <i>They Die Strangers</i> vs. Amy Tan’s <i>The Joy Luck Club</i>


  • Riyad Abdurahman Manqoush Assistant Professor of English literature, English Language Department, Hadhramout University.


Nation, diaspora, dilemma, Mohammad Abdulwali, They Die Strangers, Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club


This research is intended to analyze Mohammad Abdulwali’s They Die Strangers (1971) and Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1990) with the aim of examining the cultural dilemma of the Yemeni and Chinese migrants. Although the two novels were analyzed in some scholarly works, all previous research investigated them separately; none investigated the two novels to highlight the similarities and differences between cultural dilemma of the Yemeni and Chinese migrants. The theoretical framework in this research has been derived from the notions of  nation and diaspora as discussed by Jana Braziel, Anita Mannur, William Safran, Adnan Mohammad Zarzour, Kamaludin Rifaat, Gastanteen Zureiq, Timothy Brennan, John McLeod, Bill Ashcroft, Fred Riggs, Caren Kaplan and Robin Cohen. The discussion and analysis conclude that the cultural dilemma of the Yemeni and Chinese migrants is analogous as shown through the characters’ memories about their ancestral land in both novels, and also in their sense of displacement, fragmentation and loss in the land of domicile. In contrast, the two stories diverge in manipulating the cultural dilemma of migrants. The Chinese in the USA are different from the Yemenis in Ethiopia in their hybridity. While the Yemenis dream of homecoming, the Chinese want to forget their homeland and stay abroad forever. They try their best to mingle with the new culture. This indicates that the Chinese traditions are more oppressive than the Yemeni traditions. In short, the culture, traditions, and folklore of the two countries are obviously observed in these stories, but while They Die Strangers focuses on the migrants’ nostalgia of homecoming, The Joy Luck Club centers on their hybridity and forgetting their homeland.


Author Biography

Riyad Abdurahman Manqoush, Assistant Professor of English literature, English Language Department, Hadhramout University.

Riyad Abdurahman Manqoush, Ph.D, teaches English literature at English Language Department, Hadhramout University. He received his MA (Post-Colonial Literature in English) in 2008 and Ph.D. (Comparative Literature) in 2011 from National University of Malaysia. His research areas are postcolonial theory, comparative literature, diasporic writings and the theory of intertextuality.


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How to Cite

Manqoush, R. A. (2015). The Cultural Dilemma of the Yemeni and Chinese Migrants: Mohammad Abdulwali’s <i>They Die Strangers</i> vs. Amy Tan’s <i>The Joy Luck Club</i>. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 3(6). Retrieved from