Identity and Friendship in Hsu-Ming Teo´s Behind the Moon (2000)


  • Catalina Ribas Segura



Chinese Australian literature, identity, belonging


In her second novel, Behind the Moon (2000), Hsu-Ming Teo explores the identity construction of three teenage friends and how they defy the notion of the „ideal‟ Australian as a heterosexual, Protestant, white, English-speaking, Australian-born of British ancestry young adult person. Set in the western suburbs of Sydney in the 1990s, the three friends are an example of the multicultural society of the time: Justin Cheong, the son of a Chinese-Singaporean family who arrived in Australia with the Business Migration Programme; Tien Ho, a refugee girl of Chinese-Vietnamese and Afro-CajunCreole-American ancestry; and Nigel „Gibbo‟ Gibson, the son of an Anglo-Australian father and an English mother. The novel tackles different relations among these characters and their families during their teenage years and especially as young adults. This paper seeks to analyse the evolution of the identities of Justin, Tien and „Gibbo‟ through the notions of belonging, gender construction and sexuality. In order to do so, the main theories applied will be the insights on homosexuality and on masculinities of Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (1995) and Raewyn W. Connell (1995) and Manuel Castellsʼ (2010) identity construction theory