Amy Tan, a representative of Chinese American female writers, is famed all over the world for delineating the emotional gap between Chinese immigrant mothers and Americanized daughters. In 2001, Tan published her fourth novel, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, which centers on the mother-daughter relationship again, depicting the emotional experience of three generations in one maternal lineage.
From the perspective of Female Gothic, this paper introduces the typical elements of Female Gothic into The Bonesetter’s Daughter by analyzing the three main female characters. Under the perspective of Female Gothic, elements like emotional imprisonment, grotesque images and feminist consciousness are included. In addition, this paper focuses on the inheritance and breakthrough of Amy Tan’s work in terms of Female Gothic. Tan’s complicated identity offers her new horizon and new material that can be applied in her writings, the oriental mysticism for example.
This paper tries to explore Amy Tan’s striving for seeking women’s effaced voice and reestablishing their self-identities. It may serve an inspiring journey for tens of thousands of Chinese American women who are often at a loss of how to define themselves in a doubly-marginalized situation.
Key Words: Amy Tan, Female Gothic, gender and racial marginalization
- Introduction 1
- A Brief Introduction of Amy Tan 错误!未定义书签。
- Amy Tan’s Major Works 3
- The Background of Amy Tan’s Writings 4
- The Psychological Motivations behind Amy Tan’s Writings 4
- Female Gothic 6
- Female Gothic in Brief 6
- Main Elements of Female Gothic 6
- Analysis of The Bonesetter’ s Daughter from the Female Gothic Perspective 8
- Precious Auntie --- Silence and Voice 8
- Luling --- Mysticism and Ghost Images 9
- Ruth --- Marginalization and Self-identity 错误!未定义书签。
- Inheritance and Breakthrough of Female Gothic in The Bonesetter’ s Daughter错误!未定义书签。
- Conclusion 错误!未定义书签。References 错误!未定义书签。
The Female Gothic Elements in
The Bonesetter's Daughter
The concept of Female Gothic was brought up in 1976 by American feminist critic, Ellen Moers. In her work Literary Women: The Great Writers, she coins the new term and by using it she has laid the foundation for combining the genre of Gothic novel and the feminist literary criticism. Moers claims that the Female Gothic is “easily defined: the work that women writers have done in the literary mode that, since the eighteenth century, we have called the Gothic” (Moers, 1976, p90-110). Whether Moers’s definition is too much simple remains to be further discussed, it cannot be denied that she has opened up a new space for the development of relatively mature and systematical research in Female Gothic literature. From then on, the male-dominated Gothic convention has been broken. The active participation of female writers in Gothic novels has brought about the appearance of Female Gothic, as not only a new branch but also an undivided part of Gothic novel.
However, no matter how broad area Female Gothic novels have marked out in literature, the Female Gothic perspective has not been focused on until recent years. And compared with academic circles abroad which takes Female Gothic seriously, “the domestic studies are nearly blank, or at most, at the threshold”. (Li Xia, 2013) There are few domestic related translations of books and research monographs. Also, the related theses are somewhat repetition and overlap in terms of themes and subjects and they are lack of profundity in analysis. On the whole, domestic academic study of Female Gothic is at starting stage. As for such comparatively blank space, it becomes urgent to go deep into Female Gothic study in China.
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