Consent and Descent in John’s Community of “Upward” Mobility
This chapter discusses how Asian American bodies often become suspects of espionage, especially since the threat of a shared body has much to do with divided allegiance and betrayal. Chang-Rae Lee’s Native Speaker (1995) deals with this issue of belonging and betrayal, but he complicates the related ideas of identity, community, and nation by casting the main character in a double agent role who spies on rather than for his fellow Korean American. If Asian American difference makes assimilation into mainstream white society problematic, Chang-Rae Lee ironically suggests that their marginalization also makes them particularly suitable to play the role of an unnoticeable spy. This politics of inclusion and exclusion is also central to the Gospel of John. The chapter views John as a site of struggle for community and studies how this Gospel establishes community, particularly its formulation of consent, descent, and ascent.
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