Towards Inclusive Excellence: Modulating the Excesses of Perverse Piety in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and Okada’s No-No Boy
Both Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and Okada’s No-No Boy explore the concerns of masculine identity within the contours of the good life. Despite their temporally and culturally disparate situations, the title characters of the two works, Coriolanus and Ichiro, each exhibit—within their respective ancient Roman and Japanese American cultures similarly grounded on honor and its opposite, shame—excesses of filial and civic piety against the virtuous mean in their particular dilemmas between opposing allegiances. In each case, an overwrought conscience stemming originally from an exacting martial ethos drives the protagonist ambivalently to enact but also to defy filial and civic piety. The failure of both characters to achieve the virtuous mean towards the fullest realization of one’s potential involves the absence of a public policy of inclusive excellence. By way of vivid literary illustrations, both works show students why and how we should actively persist in our goals of inclusive excellence in academia and in society at large.
Keywords: Inclusive Excellence, Ethnicity, Identity, Asian-American, Shakespeare, Teaching Diversity
Ph.D. Recipient, Department of English, College of Letters, Arts and Science, University of Southern California