Juliet Way-Henthorne’s VCFA critical thesis explores biracial Asian-American memoirs as she seeks to uncover patterns in narrative structures and endings that aren’t happy or resolution-based but rather reflective, emotional, or focused on moments of self-acceptance. Her critical thesis additionally sought to understand why these biracial Asian-American memoirs, of which there is no shortage, rarely make it to mainstream audiences. Way-Henthorne examines each memoir in the thesis in the context of the history of violence towards Asian Americans—a record that is too often overlooked or under-taught.
Way-Henthorne says of the thesis: “The biracial Asian-American experience, like other biracial experiences, is buried in shadows, its secrets often known only by those who live them. We straddle a border, often filled with shame and a deep, profound sense of being devoid of an identity…Therefore, I consider this—writing about biraciality and drawing awareness to experiences that are rarely discussed in major spaces—to be a life’s work, with the goal of helping other biracial people form senses of identity and community that they may not have even known were missing.”