The plural subject in The woman warrior : "Pangs of Love" and "Phoenix Eyes"
Abstract of thesis entitled
The Plural Subject in The Woman Warrior, ?angs of Love?and ?hoenix Eyes?Submitted by
Ma, Wing Man Marina
for the degree of Master of Philosophy
at the University of Hong Kong
in August, 2004
Chinese American literature, like Asian American literature, is frequently bound by restrictive stereotypes based on white hegemonic models. Under these paradigms, race, gender and sexuality manifest Chinese American characters with a resulting oppression that initiates a communal call from both genders and across sexualities for alternative models. Many Chinese American writers seek to propose alternative models starting especially in the year 1974 when Aiiieeeee: an anthology of Asian-Amerian Writers was published. The models in this anthology and in the later The Big Aiiieeeee: an anthology of Chinese American and Japanese American Literature published in 1991 in large part are a response to the restrictive white hegemonic heterosexual masculine types that deem Chinese and Asian American men alike as emasculate and effeminate: ?e are contemptible because we are womanly, effeminate, devoid of all the traditional masculine qualities of originality, daring, physical courage, creativity?(my emphasis; Chin et al. xxx)
The white hegemonic masculine types, which is in theory centered in homophobia and in opposition to femininity, in turn further oppressed Chinese
American women who are historically suppressed into inferior status. Laws prohibited women from entering America which resulted in the homosocial male community and, in return, further manifest the emasculated and effeminate stereotypes of Chinese American men. Interrelated and inter-manifesting layers of complexity contributing to Chinese American stereotypes and oppression are impossible to negotiate with frequently cited singular alternatives, such as ?ypermasculine?masculine models.
The Chinese American characters in the three texts under study namely, The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, ?angs of Love?by David Wong Louie, and ?hoenix Eyes?by Russell Charles Leong, both female and male, elicit such complex layers of oppression. These characters will be studied in relation to multiple and imposed silences, including self-imposed silenced, all of which may be seen in relation to acts of resistance and a potential plurality that allows at best for the reconfiguration of strict gender definitions or self-invention.
In the protagonists, inclusive and plural alternative Chinese American models for both genders are found. These characters ultimately choose a formulated silence in which they create a space to resist being bound by stereotypes. In this extended space, redefinition and reinvention are made possible. It is towards such inclusion that Chinese American gender definitions are emerging as future alternatives. (378 words)
School:The University of Hong Kong
School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:kingston maxine hong the woman warrior louie david wong 1954 pangs of love leong russell phoenix eyes and other stories chinese americans ethnic identity in literature
Date of Publication:01/01/2005