美籍华裔作家对中国民间传说的另类解读–以汤亭亭作品为例 The Interpretation of Chinese Folktales in Chinese American Literature A Case Study of Maxine Hong Kingston毕业论文
As an emerging force of American literature, Chinese American literature had been always on the margin of the American mainstream culture since its very beginning. Until the 1960s when a group of Chinese American writers, take Maxine Hong Kingston for example, came into view, Chinese American literature ushered in a spring. Maxine has greatly rewritten Chinese folk tales in her works, which has arrested attention from scholars both at home and abroad. Based on the archetypal theory of Jung, this paper firstly analyzes the differences between the images of Mulan and Cai Wenji in The Woman Warrior, and the Chinese traditional images from the perspective of hero archetype and exile archetype. In The Woman Warrior, Maxine converts the image of Fa Mulan from a woman with faith and filial piety into a fighter against oppression, and reshapes the image of Cai Wenji from a cynic in exile to an assimilator in Xiongnu’s mainstream. Then, this paper reveals the implied meaning of these images. Finally, this paper explores the significance of rewriting Chinese folktales in breaking the silence of Chinese American writers and seeking their racial and cultural identity. This paper is a practice of utilizing Jungian archetypal theory, to provide a new perspective of understanding Chinese American literature.
Key Words: Chinese American writers; Maxine Hong Kingston; The Woman Warrior; Archetypal theory
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Maxine Hong Kingston and The Woman Warrior 1
1.2 Literature Review 2
2 Highlights of Archetypal Theory 3
2.1The Development of Archetypal Theory 3
2.2 Collective Unconscious 3
2.3 Archetype 4
3 Archetypes in The Woman Warrior 5
3.1 Hero Archetype 5
3.1.1 Fa Mulan: A Heroine 5
3.1.2 Implied Meaning of Fa Mulan: A Fighter against Racism and Sexism 7
3.2 Exile Archetype 8
3.2.1 Ts’ai Yen: An Exile 8
3.2.2 Implied Meaning of Ts’ai Yen: An Assimilator to the American Mainstream 9
4 Significance of “Rewriting” Chinese Folktales 11
4.1 Breaking Silence, Regaining the Power of Discourse 11
4.2Questing for Self-identity 12
4.2.1Questing for Cultural Identity: Chinese American 12
4.2.2Questing for Gender Identity: Chinese American Woman 12
5 Conclusion 14
The Interpretation of Chinese Folktales in Chinese American Literature: A Case Study of Maxine Hong Kingston
1.1 Maxine Hong Kingston and The Woman Warrior
Maxine Hong Kingston was born in Stockton, California in 1940. She is regarded as a brilliant Chinese American writer with her literary attainments. Due to her family background, Maxine received bilingual education when she was young. Her father, a laundry house owner, influenced his daughter with his profound literary knowledge. Maxine’s mother also was an excellent story teller and her story pool covered most of Chinese folktales, such as the story of Nuhuo mending the sky, Hou Yi shooting down suns, Kua Fu chasing the sun, Jing Wei filling up the Sea, etc. At the same time, Maxine attended the white school and received an western education and graduated with a BA in English in 1962. So she was greatly influenced by both Chinese traditional culture and American mainstream culture. The bilingual background provided her with rich materials for her later writing.
Maxine showed her talents in literature when she was young. When she was attending middle school at age of 14, she luckily won a reward by “Girl Scout Magazine” for an article she wrote titled. With the publication of her first semi-autobiographical novel The Woman Warrior in 1976, Maxine caused an extensive concern from the white society and was awarded the National Book Critics Award for Nonfiction that year. This novel was praised by Bill Clinton as “An epoch-making great work” and was regarded as the peak of Chinese American literature. Now, it is still utilized as textbook in college. Just as the title The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts shows, this novel is a semi-autobiographical nonfiction which is made of author’s fragmented memories. Maxine recalls those stories that her mother told her when she was young, and writes down those story in a form of story-telling. Divided into five interconnected chapters, this novel represents several real and vivid female characters, such as no-name woman, Fa Mulan, Brave Orchid and Ts’ai Yen, to express the theme of breaking the silence of Chinese American and seeking for their identities.
1.2 Literature Review
Early scholars have clarified the concept of Chinese American literature from different angles, but the majority of the definitions share these following features. First of all, the writer is a Chinese immigrant or Chinese immigrant descendant. Secondly, the writer holds U.S. citizenship. Finally, his works are written in English（程爱民，2003）. With the publication of the autobiographical novel When I Was a Boy in China written by Lee Yan Phou in 1887, Chinese American literature generally stepped onto its stage from the end of the 19th century. Nevertheless, it didn’t emerge as a literary power in America because of the enactment of Chinese Exclusion Act by the USA government in 1882 until 1960s when a huge chunk of fictions came into view like the Joy Luck Club (Amy Tan), Pangs of Love (David Wong Louie) and Typical American (Gish Jen). These works, almost without exception, contain Chinese folktales more or less. Among these works, one of the most influential and representative works should be The Women Warrior written by Maxine Hong Kingston.