Great Expectations, And Some Hope Of Meeting Them

Play associated audio

David Henry Hwang is a playwright from Los Angeles, currently living in New York, who has dealt with issues of cultural identity in his work, especially as it pertains to the Asian-American experience. He spoke to NPR's Morning Edition about his thoughts on the American dream.

"I define the American dream as the ability to imagine a way that you want your life to turn out, and have a reasonable hope that you can achieve that.

"I think about my play Yellow Face. There is a character who is based on my father, who is a big America booster, who idolizes Frank Sinatra and the pop culture figures of his age. Then at a certain point in his career, he becomes a banker, and he's accused by The New York Times of laundering money for China, which my father actually was [accused of doing] in the late '90s.

"As Asian-Americans, the charge that is often lobbed against us is sort of the least original: the idea that somehow we're perpetual foreigners, that we can't be trusted, and that even my father, who was patriotic to the point that it was kind of a joke among his children, would be accused of being disloyal to America. And that seems to me to be a pretty fundamental betrayal of the American dream.

"There is something very unique in American iconography about this notion of the pursuit of happiness. There are a lot of other cultures in the world where the idea that happiness is something that is written into the fabric of the culture and even the government is kind of hard to conceive — because you don't necessarily think that happiness is a logical goal. So I think that the American dream is about being able to imagine a life, and then having some expectation that you can achieve that life."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Woody Allen Presents First TV Series, 'Crisis In Six Scenes,' On Amazon

Woody Allen's first foray into television, Crisis in Six Scenes, debuts on Amazon Friday. The series is a six-part comedy set in the 1960s with a cast that includes Miley Cyrus.
NPR

Our Robot Overlords Are Now Delivering Pizza, And Cooking It On The Go

A Silicon Valley startup wants to use technology to solve the pizza paradox. It's a food that's meant to be delivered but never tastes quite as good upon arrival.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - September 30, 2016

D.C.'s statehood activists rally while the Council opens debate on a state constitution. An appeals court reviews Virginia's voter ID law. And Prince George's County contends with a spate of incidents involving sexual abuse of school kids.

NPR

Our Robot Overlords Are Now Delivering Pizza, And Cooking It On The Go

A Silicon Valley startup wants to use technology to solve the pizza paradox. It's a food that's meant to be delivered but never tastes quite as good upon arrival.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.