Writing Traumas, Writing Lives in Mulberry and Peach and Mazu's Bodyguards
|關鍵字:||《桑青與桃紅》;《海神家族》;聶華苓;陳玉慧;創傷書寫;生命書寫;個人創傷;集體創傷;敘事治療;國族敘事;邊陲;Mulberry and Peach;Mazu’s Bodyguards;Hualing Nieh;Jade Y. Chen;writing traumas;writing lives;individual traumas;colletive traumas;national narratives;margin|
This thesis is an interdisciplinary scholarly attempt to explore how individual traumas and colletive traumas are represented in Hualing Nieh’s Mulberry and Peach and Jade Y. Chen’s Mazu’s Bodyguards. In Chapter One, I juxtapose the two novels with Nieh’s and Chen’s accounts of their lived experiences, in order to investigate how Nieh and Chen transfer their traumatic memories into their literary works, and how the historical and social contexts they were in affected their artistic representation of traumas. As Nieh and Chen represent traumas in the novelistic mode, their deeds correspond to a crucial point held by many trauma studies scholars: since the overwhelming power of trauma leads to its impossibility of being fully perceived and accurately presented by people, in trauma narratives too definite positions of recounting the traumatic experiences should be avoided and recreating the traumatic events is needed. This recreation process corresponds to the basic philosophy of narrative therapy, a branch of postmodern psychotherapy approaches. Narrative therapy suggests that the story told by every client is constructed within certain context; during the treatment, the predominant problematic story should be deconstructed and replaced by “alternative stories.” Due to the fact that in both Mulberry and Peach and Mazu’s Bodyguards the two authors reveal their individual and family traumatic stories embedded in national traumatic events through the female perspective, I consider that there are two aspects in which the two texts constitute their authors’ “alternative stories.” First, by interweaving depictions of their lived experiences with fictional elements in the texts, Nieh and Chen tell the “alternative stories” as substitutes for the traumatic memories that have been haunting them in real life. Moreover, Nieh and Chen provide “alternative stories” to counter the male-dominated discourses in mainstream national narratives. In Chapter Two, I examine how Nieh and Chen, as witnesses to women’s sufferings during national unrest, eschew symbolically re-victimizing those female bearers of historical traumas in their “alternative stories.” Borrowing bell hooks’ theory about the margin as a strategic space of resistance, I consider that Nieh’s and Chen’s portrayals of those traumatized women constitute “the subversive voices from the margins” that can provide counter-perspectives against the predominant discourses.
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