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A Dreamland of Woman: A Comparative Study of Metaphorical Images in Chen Ran’s and Amy Tan’s Fiction
Current Issue
Volume 1, 2014
Issue 2 (June)
Pages: 13-20   |   Vol. 1, No. 2, June 2014   |   Follow on         
Paper in PDF Downloads: 38   Since Aug. 28, 2015 Views: 2342   Since Aug. 28, 2015
Authors
[1]
Jing He, School of English and International Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing 100089, China.
Abstract
Against the background of globalization featured by cultural diversity and cross-cultural communication, comparative literature is playing an ever-increasingly important role in bridging the cultural gap and deepening our understanding of not only the uniqueness of, but also, more importantly, the commonality between different cultures. This paper compares the metaphorical images in the fiction written by contemporary avant-garde Chinese writer Chen Ran and Chinese American writer Amy Tan. The methodology of literary close-reading, psychoanalysis and postmodern feminist critique are adopted to compare and analyze the fictional works of the two writers. Through a comparative analysis of the protagonist’ various dream scenes and their mixing attitudes towards the mirror, the paper attempts to prove that the dream scenes and the imagery of the mirror not only signify women’s hidden anxiety of their identity crisis, but also empower them for a renewed sense of self-recognition.
Keywords
Chen Ran, Amy Tan, Comparative Literature, Metaphorical Images
Reference
[1]
See Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Trans. A. A. Brill and Ed. James Strachey (New York: Basic Books, 1955).
[2]
Carl G. Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Trans. R. F. C. Hull. 1959 (Princeton: Princeton University, 1968), 142.
[3]
In her book The Emerging Lesbian: Female Same-Sex Desire in Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), Tze-lan Sang adopts the term “female same-sex love” to describe a close female bonding, which is encompassed in the extended notion of sisterhood in the current paper.
[4]
See Chen Ran, “空心人的诞生 [The Birth of a Hollow Man],” 嘴唇里的阳光 [Sunshine between the Lips] (Wuhan: Changjiang Literature & Arts Publishing House, 2001), 219-41.
[5]
See Chen Ran, “无处告别 [Nowhere to Bid Farewell],” 嘴唇里的阳光 [Sunshine between the Lips], 74-128.
[6]
The Moon Lady, or the goddess of the moon according to Chinese folklore, is named Chang’e, who swallowed out of curiosity the elixir of immortality her husband Houyi obtained from the Queen Mother of the Western Skies and floated into the sky until she landed on the moon. While Houyi the Archer is known for his bravery to save the scorching earth by shooting down nine suns, thus representing brightness and masculinity, Chang’e, though deified as the Moon Lady, leads a lonely life in cold and cheerless palace of the moon and cautions people against negative traits like greediness and jealousy traditionally associated with women.
[7]
See Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club (New York: Penguin books, 2006), 82.
[8]
Wenying Xu, “A Womanist Production of Truths: The Use of Myths in Amy Tan,” A Journal of Multicultural Literature 12 (Autumn 1995): 60-61.
[9]
See Chen Ran, 私人生活 [A Private Life] (Beijing: The Writers Publishing House, 1996). For the English version, please refer to A Private Life, Trans. Howard-Gibbon (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).
[10]
See Chen Ran, “破开 [Breaking Open],” 离异的人 [The Divorced] (Beijing: Shenghuo-Dushu-Xinzhi Joint Publishing Company, 2004): 271-300. For the English version, please refer to “Breaking Open.” Trans. Paola Zamperini. Red is not the Only Color: Contemporary Chinese Fiction on Love and Sex between Women, Collected Stories. Ed. Patricia Sieber. (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2001), 49-66.
[11]
Tze-lan D Sang, The Emerging Lesbian: Female Same-Sex Desire in Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 212.
[12]
See Amy Tan, The Bonesetter’s Daughter (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001).
[13]
Amy Ling, Between Worlds: Women Writers of Chinese Ancestry (New York: Pergamon Press, Inc., 1990), 105.
[14]
W. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (New York: Signet, 1982), quoted in Amy Ling, Between Worlds: Women Writers of Chinese Ancestry (New York: Pergamon Press, Inc., 1990), 105.
[15]
Jacques Lacan, Ecrits: A Selection, Trans. Bruce Fink (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2002), 3-4.
[16]
Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2006), 193.
[17]
Simone de Beauvoir, Le Deuxième Sexe. (Paris: Gallimard, 1949), Trans. and Ed. by H. M. Parshley as The Second Sex. 1952. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), 631.
[18]
Carolyn Burke, “Irigaray through the Looking Glass,” Feminist Studies 7.2 (1981): 293.
[19]
See Luce Irigaray, “The Looking Glass, from the Other Side,” This Sex Which is Not One Trans. Catherine Porter (New York: Cornell University, 1985), 9-22.
[20]
Irigaray, “The Looking Glass,” 17.
[21]
Burke, 296.
[22]
Wang Lingzhen, Personal Matters: Women’s Autobiographical Practice in the Twentieth-Century China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 180.
[23]
See Chen Ran, “与往事干杯 [A Toast to the Past],” 嘴唇里的阳光 [Sunshine between the Lips], 1-73.
[24]
Wang Lingzhen, 183-84.
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