Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/151400
Title: BOOKS OF RECORDS: WRITING COMMUNIST CHINA IN HA JIN'S THE CRAZED AND MADELEINE THIEN'S DO NOT SAY WE HAVE NOTHING
Authors: TEO YIK SIM, VANESSA
Issue Date: 12-Nov-2018
Citation: TEO YIK SIM, VANESSA (2018-11-12). BOOKS OF RECORDS: WRITING COMMUNIST CHINA IN HA JIN'S THE CRAZED AND MADELEINE THIEN'S DO NOT SAY WE HAVE NOTHING. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis examines how Chinese Communist history, censored by the state within China, is recorded and represented in Ha Jin?s The Crazed and Madeleine Thien?s Do Not Say We Have Nothing. The two authors come from very different socio-cultural and political backgrounds?Jin being a Chinese-born ‚migr‚ author and Thien being a foreign-born, second-generation Chinese-Canadian? backgrounds which influence how they narrativise Chinese Communist history. In The Crazed, Ha Jin offers an overt political critique of the Communist Party for enacting political violence on its own people, focusing on the curtailment of intellectual freedoms in 1980s China. This shows up through his character?s deteriorating madness and ill body, which then functions as a metaphor for the damage done to China itself. Concluding the novel with the emigration of his protagonist, who realises that there is no future for the intellectual in post-Tiananmen China, Jin also demonstrates an ideological bias valorising the free West in contrast to the repressive Chinese state. In contrast, Thien narrativises history in Do Not Say We Have Nothing with a certain carefulness informed by her lack of first-hand knowledge and experience in Communist China. Instead of suggesting that one needs to flee China for the West to seek refuge from political violence, she explores how one might be able to express oneself, connect with others, and ultimately find relief through the creation of musical and literary records that continue to circulate and reach individuals against state suppression. Despite differences in textual strategies or geographical and generational distance from the ancestral homeland itself, by producing works that continue to memorialise twentieth century Chinese history, Jin and Thien highlight the importance of both ‚migr‚ and foreign-born authors from the anglophone Chinese diaspora in recuperating Chinese historical memory otherwise erased by state censorship.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/151400
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