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Disappearing Moon Caf é Major Issues. Outline Time Line vs. Plot Lines: Kaes role in them. Mother-Daughter Relationships The Novel Historiographical Metafiction.

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Presentation on theme: "Disappearing Moon Caf é Major Issues. Outline Time Line vs. Plot Lines: Kaes role in them. Mother-Daughter Relationships The Novel Historiographical Metafiction."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disappearing Moon Caf é Major Issues

2 Outline Time Line vs. Plot Lines: Kaes role in them. Mother-Daughter Relationships The Novel Historiographical Metafiction as Kunstlerinroman -- Kae -- a Writer as a Young WomanKunstlerinroman

3 Time Line vs. Plot Line 1892: the beginning of the retrieval of bones, meeting Kelora Chen-- (1894 the famine– ) (Prologue and Epilogue) 1924: (1) Mui Lan vs. Fong Mei; Janet Smith; argument about JS bill 1926 two babies: Keeman and Beatrice 1932 Tin Ans leaving 1938: Beatrice sent to Hong Kong to study 1939: Gwei Chang old and dreaming; reunion with Lee Chong 1942 Ting An dies 1949 Morgan knows Sue 1950 Sue talks to her sister about her pregnancy 1951 Sue's death and Kae's birth 1962 Fong Mei's death 1967 Morgan; 1968 drunk 1971 (1) K metting Hermia in Peking, wanting "legitimate, traditional, conventional" family ties 1986 (1) Kae Ying birthing 1987 telegram to Kae Ying

4 Time Line vs. Plot Line Prologue--Searches for the Bones; [Kae Ying Woo] Waiting for Enlightment (1986) Mui Lan 1924 her early life Hermia 1971 Fong Meis letters Fong Mei and Ting An Ties Overseas--A Ticket In -arrangements to have a son 1924; Kae 1986 Morgan search for history around the time of [Janet Smith] 4. Triangles –1925 Fong Mei --Mui Lan-- Choy Fuk; Choy -Fuk -- Song Ann; Fong Mei-- Ting An 5. Ties to the Land--A Ticket Out Kae 1986 job and child care Seto Chi Babies 1926 (Chis story? Morgans) Story 1926 Hermia 1971 Beatrice 1939 Beatrice and Keeman 1946 Fong Mei ( 1926 pregnancy) Keemans discussion with her mother 6. Identity Crisis– 1968 Morgan 1949 M and Sue (168) 1950 Mui Lans departure 1950 Sue Kae 1968 (Chis story about Suzie)

5 Time Line vs. Plot Line 1. The Writer1986 Fong Meis sex 1986 criticizes her own language 184; I, the resolution, give the story some sense of purpose 209; creation not aborted The Suicide – 1951 Suzie's perspective before the suicide 1986 Kaes finding and resolution 3. Epilogue New Moon (houseboy) 1932 (Ting An's leaving)

6 Mother-Daughter Relationships What are the causes for the conflicts between the mothers(-in-law) and daughters(-in-law)? Kae Ying's interpretation of his great granny: 31--"My dumb great-granny"--she becomes a tyrant; her view of Fong Mei 37. a great Chinese tragedy--caused by history 179; "we're all related at the end" 69; Women's position-- like orphan: "If you were a little child, desperately trying to cling to somebody who refuses to nurture you, you would get quite hysteric too." "Grown women are orphan --children" p. 138 they were ungrounded women, living with displaced chinamen, and everyone trapped by circumstances. I prefer to romanticize them as a lineage of women with passion and fierceness in their veins. p. 145

7 The Positions of the Chinese Men? Orphaned, Emasculated or Obsessed by Guilt Choy Fuk -- afraid of his mother; impatient with his wife 94-96; powerless outside 97-99; dependant on Song An Why? Ting An's --sympathy for Fong Mei 53- ; lack of experience with women; His views of the Chinese 107, ; Morgan – pathetic; drowned in the past. Gwei Chang powerful as a patriarch in Chinese Benevolent Association Sees through the powerlessness of his generation; mysterious; relaxed; with a sense of guilt (The Epilogue) An Exception: Keeman – optimistic, confident, but dim-witted;

8 Kae as a resolution to this conflict? Kae//Suzie Morgan Two kinds of birth 215 Suzanne's ghost--"All this bondage we volunteer on ourselves! Untie them! Untie me!" The narrator, Kae, exclaims her freedom: "after three generations of struggle, the daughters are free!"

9 Historiographical Metafiction Official history revisited only to problematize it or open it up to re-interpretations. The central mysteries: whether Wong kills Janet Smith; whether Suzanne commits suicide. They are open to reconstructions by the narrator for her to build her own identity.

10 the novel as a Kunstlerinroman reconstruction of four kinds of fragments: 1) bones, 2) broken family (revelation of secret: p. 32; 132; "lost babies 132), 3) unknown history (JS bill), 4) Kae Ying's identity. the conscious use of romance elements: (note on the Form of Romance)on the Form of Romance revelation p. 22; Morgan's and Kae's response to romance and mystery 66; 70 Fong Mei and Ting An 184 titles ; the narrator's self awareness: tries to break the mother's silence180 writing--In writing, I feel like a drunk weaving all over the road....How many ways are there to tell stories? 185-

11 The Form of Melodrama --Violence Inner violence: [in the family melodrama,] "the social pressures are such, the frame of respectability so sharply defined that the range of 'strong' actions is limited. The tellingly impotent gesture, the social gaffe, the hysterical outburst replaces any more directly liberating or self-annihilating action, and the cathartic violence of a shoot-out or a chase becomes an inner violence, often one which the characters turn against themselves.(56) (source) Between the paralysed system and entropic desire: "the melodramatic text is balanced on the edge of two extremes, one of which is inertial (the paralysis of the system, its resistance to change or any form of external development) and the other of which is entropic (where action is expressed only as an irrational and undirected surplus energy).... In summary, even though the incorporation of the Oedipal scenario enable the domestic melodrama to establish a concrete form of narrative organisation, this scenario still reproduced, within its own structural relations, the central contradiction of the genre--the impossibility of an individual reconciliation of the law and desire. (source 2)source

12 The Form of Melodrama – Emotional Excess "[W]hen in ordinary language we call something melodramatic, what we mean is an exaggerated rise-and-fall pattern in human actions and emotional responses, a from-the-sublime-to-the-ridiculous movement, a foreshortening of lived time in favor of intensity - all of which produces a graph of much greater fluctuation, a quick swing from one extreme to the other than is considered natural, realistic or in conformity with literary standards of verisimilitude." (source 1)source

13 the novel as a Kunstlerinroman (2) Kae Ying's growth: at 17: 64-65; lost Morgan with his alcoholism;--> Morgan's story 136 (about the fight); Kae Ying's fear of risks 1971 p. 41 disappointed at moment of birthing: kinship for enlightenment 19; her interpretation of "female- bang" Disappearing Moon to New Moon

14 the novel as a Kunstlerinroman (3) K and the marginalized: Hermia and Chi -the misplaced bastard daughter of a gangster and his moll 41 Hermia a bare and newborn baby; loves and understands Kae Ying; wants her to write 138; "legitimate, traditional and conventional were the adjectives to wear in those days, esp. when I suspected my own identity might be as defective." -dual personality mutual comfort 210

15 Kae Ying's self-reflexiveness and writing process: 1. fictional self-consciousness: history as reconstructions 136; reality lives are stories 209 criticizes her own language 184; 2. Process: from mens histories to womens talk-stories. listens to Morgan's, the mother's and Chi's stories; write her own stories in which all the women speak and Morgan speak and offer their interpretations; pp present Sue's story from her perspective (denying Morgans view). Acts out the conclusion: I, the resolution, give the story some sense of purpose 209; the letter to Hermia about "reality" creation not aborted 215

16 Reference: 1. Thomas Elsaesser, "Tales of Sound and Fury: Observations on the Family Drama." Home is Where the Heart Is. Ed. Christine Gledhill. 2. David. N. Rodowick, "Madness, Authority and Ideology: The Domestic Melodrama of the 1950s." Home is Where the Heart Is. Ed. Christine Gledhill


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