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Domestic Men Of Mystery By Jillian Tamaki

Good Essays
Words can hold different meanings, which shift and mold based on the context in which one reads it. Thus, literary works have the power to redefine certain words, such as in Jillian Tamaki’s comic, “Domestic Men of Mystery.” Her comic features a variety of fathers through the perspective of a daughter, and invites its readers to reflect on and relive potentially uncomfortable memories. Tamaki portrays a fatherhood that invokes bitterness in many Asian American daughters until she disrupts their stream of consciousness in the very last panel of the comic, prompting a re-reading and, perhaps, a re-evaluation of their memories. Tamaki’s widely relatable comic redefines the term “father” for the Asian American community, particularly the…show more content…
By featuring Julie and Trudy’s fathers in the comic, the contrast becomes clear between what a father should be, and what Asian American daughters felt their fathers were while growing up.
Many Asian American daughters would also likely see their own fathers in that of Estelle, whose “parents owned a 24-hour convenience store, of which they were the sole employees (inconvenient). Her dad worked the night shift and hence slept throughout the day,” therefore “you had to be VERY quiet at Estelle’s house,” (Tamaki). The daily schedule of Estelle’s father forces everyone in the house to be silent, establishing an awkward atmosphere. Given our understanding of a father in American terms, we question why Estelle’s father is so strict and makes her feel like he is best avoided. What kind of father would not want to spend quality time with his daughter? This feeling of detachment is emphasized by the fact that we never actually see Estelle’s father. The narrator mentions that he was a “foreboding figure” as they walk past the room that he is sleeping in (Tamaki). To Estelle and to the readers, her father is literally just a closed door.
All throughout this comic, Tamaki raises uncomfortable memories in her audience and rekindles possibly hostile feelings toward our fathers. However, we meet a turning point in the very last panel of the comic, which disrupts our painful trip down memory lane. As we question the love of the fathers depicted in the comic and, by
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