A Study on “Image of China” in The Painted Veil毕业论文_英语毕业论文

A Study on “Image of China” in The Painted Veil毕业论文

2021-04-02更新

摘 要

作为英国杰出小说家W.S. 毛姆的一部经典佳作,《面纱》在讲述一对英国情侣在中国小镇上所发生的爱恨纠葛的同时,也表达了毛姆对中国的矛盾情感。作为一部以远东题材为主题的作品,小说从外国作家的角度展示了一个不同的中国形象。通过分析小说中的中国的东方国家形象,中国人的他者形象和中国女性的异类形象,本文探究了毛姆产生有失偏颇的中国印象的深层原因。通过小说中东西方人物的描写对比以及对有失偏颇的中国形象形成原因的深层探究,本文从东方主义的角度揭示了毛姆的文化霸权观,以及在中西方交流过程中仍需做出更多努力以改善甚至消除被误读的中国形象。

关键词: W.S. 毛姆;面纱;中国形象;东方主义;误读

Contents

1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………….1 2. Demonstration…………………………………………………………………….3

2.1. Cultural stereotype and Maugham’s oriental writing…………………………. .3

2.1.1. The theory of cultural stereotype………………………….………………….3

2.1.2. Maugham’s oriental writing………………..…………………………………………5

2.2. Image of China as an orientalized nation in The Painted Veil………..…………6

2.2.1. Definition of “Image of China” ……………………………..………………..6

2.2.2. Embodiment of “Image of China” ……………………………………………7

2.2.2.1. Barbaric China………………………………………………………………7

2.2.2.2. Exotic China…..…………………………………………………………….9

2.3. Image of Chinese as the other in The Painted Veil…………………………….12

2.3.1. Marginalized Chinese………………………………………………………..12

2.3.2. Savage Chinese…………………………………………………………………………15

2.3.3. Saved Chinese………………………………………………………………..17

2.4. Image of Chinese women as the alien in The Painted Veil…………………….20

2.4.1. The Manchu princess…………………………………………………………20

2.4.2. The foot-binding Chinese women……………………………………………22

3. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………..23

Notes………………………………………………………………………………..25.

Works Cited………………………………………………………………………….26

Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………27

A Study on “Image of China” in The Painted Veil

  1. Introduction

Revered as the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s, William Somerest Maugham’s (1874-1965) novels still pack an emotional punch nowadays. Maugham enjoys a good reputation for his objective and acute analysis of human frailty and the ways of the world, which finds a full expression especially in his short novels. Themes refracted through his novels are complicated and contradictory humanity as well as his concerns for society and humanity. He published many famous works in his life, among which some are considered as his representative works: Of Human Bondage (1915), The Moon and Sixpences (1919), The Painted Veil (1925), Cakes and Ale (1930), and The Razor’s Edge (1944).

Among Maugham’s short novels, some deal with the lives of the westerners, mostly of the British people, in the Far East. The Painted Veil is created under such a special background. Shelly’s The Painted Veil rises up Maugham’s breast to fire with inspiration, and that is why he gives this title to his work. The story is built around a forbidden extramarital affair and an unusual revenge. Kitty, the daughter of a judge in London,accepts the proposal of a bacteriologist named Walter Fane. Walter has long had a high regard for Kitty. However, Kitty seems to be in the least bit touched by his love. Even so, she still decides to marry him finally to avoid being subjected to her mother’s ridicule. After their wedding, Kitty follows Walter to come to Hong Kong. But Walter ploughs his energies into his bacteriology research soon, which makes Kitty feel completely neglected and tired of their boring marriage lacking passion and intimacy. Events take an unexpected turn at this moment. Kitty begins an affair with Assistant Colonial Secretary–Charles Townsend. When the scandal is disclosed, Kitty asks her husband for a divorce. Townsend’s refusal to divorce his wife, however, leaves no room for Kitty to retreat. Having no other choice, Kitty goes to the cholera-infested Mei-Tan-Fu with her husband in despair. However, Walter’s unselfish treatment to patients makes Kitty re-examine her own inner feelings. It is this special environment that creates the chance for this couple to experience unexpected emotional waves again and have a sudden awakening to the meaning of true love.

On the surface, the story is just limited to the conventional elements—love and marriage. However, as a well-traveled author, Maugham’s works are always filled with cultural collision as well as exotic settings. And this time, his eyes are bent on China, namely, he lays his story at Mei-Tan-Fu, a faraway Chinese city. This is apparently not an unwitting arrangement of Maugham. Actually, it precisely expresses his complex attitudes toward China. On one hand, Maugham admires the mysterious Chinese culture and its attractive exotic scenery. On the other hand, China presented in The Painted Veil is barbaric, backward and poor. All Chinese characters are stereotyped and defined as “the other” from the perspective of a foreign writer. In all, attention of this paper is fixed on the image of China depicted in this novel.

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