Embracing Hybrid Identity and Celebrating Cultural Differences: Love and Hope across Time and Space in The Hundred Secret Senses


  • Yuxuan Li Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU)


Amy Tan, Edward Soja, Hybrid Identity, The Hundred Secret Senses, Third Space, liminal entities, the Philosophy of the Mind


Published in 1995, The Hundred Secret Senses is considered as Amy Tan’s most popular novel. While critics from home and abroad hold divergent opinions towards the novel, they tacitly find it crucial to deal with the problem of multiple cultural identities shown through the novel and that of whether Amy Tan is reinforcing or deconstructing the antagonistic relationship between Chinese culture and American culture. Upon these subjects, this paper holds that, Tan, as a Chinese American writer, has to find a way to deal with her difficult writing situation in America, where racism and cultural hegemony prevails. Indeed, Tan cannot be totally cleared of the suspicion that she is catering to the taste and preference of American readers, since she displays sharp cultural conflicts between Chinese and American culture and portrays a seemingly wacky and ignorant Chinese immigrant, Kwan. However, considering that quite a few characters in the novel possessed complex cultural identities or backgrounds, it can be said that, at least to some extent, the novel moves readers’ concern from the identity problems of the characters to the interactions and connections between them as individuals. Meanwhile, with the help of the Third Space theory and the Philosophy of the Mind, this paper believes that racial or cultural conflicts are not the central concern of Tan, instead, the belief in love and hope is the ultimate themes that she wants to emphasize. In this sense, the coexistence of different races and cultures is naturally reasonable, possible, and acceptable.


Download data is not yet available.


Bhabha, Homi, The Location of Culture. (London & New York: Routledge Classics, 2004)

Bhattacharya, Rima, ‘Neo-Orientalist Stereotyping in Amy Tan’s The Hundred Secret Senses’, Journal of Language, Literature and Culture, (2019), 1-15

Cha, Rixin, ‘Spacial Turn, Cultural Negotiation, and Identity Reconstruction: Commentary on Homi Bhabha’s Criticism on Postcolonial Culture’, Foreign Theoretical Trends, 3 (2011), 74-80

Chen, Leilei, ‘Analysis of the Phenomenon of Superstition in Amy Tan’s The Hundred Secret Senses’, Foreign Literatures, 4 (2002), 116-121

Deng, Xinhua, ‘The Anti-Neo-Confucianism of Many Yanmin’s Philosophy of the Mind and its Positive influence on the Literary Theories of Ming and Qing Dynasties’, Jianghan Tribune, 12 (2004), 100-102

Kong, Rui, ‘On the Representations and Subversions of Orientalism in The Hundred Secret Senses’, English Language and Literature Studies, 4 (2014), 45-49

Papastergiadis, Nikos, ‘Tracing Hybridity in Theory’, in Debating Cultural Hybridity: Multi-Cultural Identities and the Politics of Anti-Racism, ed. by Pnina Werbner and Tariq Modood (London: Zed Books, 1997), pp. 257-281

Soja, Edward, ‘Third Space: Toward a New Consciousness of Space and Spatiality’, in Communicating in the Third Space, ed. by Karin Ikas and Gerhard Wagner (New York: Routledge, 2009), pp. 49-51

Sun, Jiena, ‘Telling and Enacting Ghost Stories: Narrative and Agency in Amy Tan's The Hundred Secret Senses’, Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, 19 (2017), 261-273

Tan, Amy, The Hundred Secret Senses (New York: The G.P. Putnam’s Sons Book, 1995)

Wang, Wei, ‘Understanding Homi K. Bhabha's Idea of Liminal Space’, Contemporary Foreign Literature, 2 (2016), 122-130

Yan, Jianhua, ‘The Hundred Secret Senses: A Modern Myth of Sacrificing and Salvation’, Journal of PLA University of Foreign Languages, 6 (2005), 92-95

Zhan, Qiao, ‘The Feast of Ghosts and Men: The Deconstruction of Binary Oppositions in Amy Tan’s The Hundred Secret Senses’, Comparative Literature in China, 1(2006), 60-71

Zhang, Qiong, ‘Tints of Neo-primitivism and Amy Tan's Works’, Foreign Languages and Literature, 1 (2005), 29-33







How to Cite

Embracing Hybrid Identity and Celebrating Cultural Differences: Love and Hope across Time and Space in The Hundred Secret Senses. (2023). Postgraduate English: A Journal and Forum for Postgraduates in English, 44. https://postgradenglishjournal.awh.durham.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/pgenglish/article/view/293