This work examines Han Suyin’s representation of her Eurasian identity in relation to her maternal inheritance, focusing on her autobiography The Crippled Tree, the first volume in the series China: Autobiography, History. Drawing on Paul John Eakin’s concept of relationality in life writing, we consider that Han’s Eurasian identity was formed through her interactions and negotiations with significant others such as her mother. We argue that Han reveals her maternal inheritance in three ways: reconstructing her mother’s subjectivity, recalling her mother’s story, and speaking for her mother: actions that contribute to Han’s self-representation as Eurasian. By intertwining her story with that of her mother, Han shows that her self-identity is relational, and presents the boundaries of the autobiographical ‘I’ as shifting and flexible.
Wang, Y., Cao, Q., & Nitschke, C. (in press). The Relational Self: Maternal Inheritance and Eurasian Identity in Han Suyin’s The Crippled Tree. Life Writing, https://doi.org/10.1080/14484528.2022.2151847