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Week 4: Death in Two American Cities: Pai Hsien-yung’s Chicago and New York [Oct 3 rd, 2013] Instructor: Richard Rong-bin Chen, PhD. Adjunct Assistant.

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Presentation on theme: "Week 4: Death in Two American Cities: Pai Hsien-yung’s Chicago and New York [Oct 3 rd, 2013] Instructor: Richard Rong-bin Chen, PhD. Adjunct Assistant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Week 4: Death in Two American Cities: Pai Hsien-yung’s Chicago and New York [Oct 3 rd, 2013] Instructor: Richard Rong-bin Chen, PhD. Adjunct Assistant Professor, Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, NTU Taiwan Fiction and Postwar Urban Experience Unless noted, the course materials are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 TaiwanAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Taiwan (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Taiwan

2 Pai Hsien-yung (1937-) Born in Guilin City, Kuang-hsi Province, China. Used to live in Chung-king, Shanghai, Nanking, and Hong Kong before finally relocated to Taipei in Became a student of NTU (1957). Established Modern Literature [hsientai wenhsueh] in Published Taipei People [taibei ren] in Published Crystal Boys [nietzu] in 1983.

3 Geographical translocation and historical transformation (Spatial and temporal dimensions) “The Eternal Snow Beauty” ( 永遠的尹雪豔 ) “The Last Night of Taipan Chin” ( 金大班的最後一夜 ) Love's Lone Flower ( 孤戀花 ) Shanghai  Taipei [Shanghai in the 30s] “A Touch of Green” ( 一把青 ) “State Funeral” ( 國葬 ) “Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream” ( 遊園驚夢 ) Nanking  Taipei [The various wars before 1949] “Glory's by Blossom Bridge” ( 花橋榮記 ) Guilin  Taipei [The 1949 Great Retreat] “Winter Night” ( 冬夜 ) Peking  Taipei [The May Fourth Movement in 1949] Taipei People and the Urban Settings

4 Taipei People [ 臺北人 ]  “The Dirge of Liang-fu” [ 梁父吟 ] (1967)  “State Funeral” [ 國葬 ] (1971) General Pai Ch’ung-hsi [ 白崇禧 ] ( )

5 Pai and Urban Fiction The writing of urban fiction is so important for Pai Hsien- yung that it actually constitutes the backbone of his literary career. Usually his stories are written within a specific spatio- temporal framework. The New Yorkers [niuyueh k’o] (2007): six stories written between 1965 and “Li Tung, a Chinese Girl in New York” [chehsienchi, story of a banished fairy] (1965) “Resentment of a Banished Fairy” [chehsienyuan] (1969) “Nocturne” [yehch’u] (1979) “Cremains” [kuhui] (1986) “Danny Boy” [Danny Boy] (2001) “Tea for Two” [Danny Boy] (2003)

6 Three Pairs of Stories Chinese Girls in New York “Li Tung, a Chinese Girl in New York” [chehsienchi, story of a banished fairy] (1965) “Resentment of a Banished Fairy” [chehsienyuan] (1969) The Great Cultural Revolution and the Tortured Chinese “Nocturne” [yehch’u] (1979) “Cremains” [kuhui] (1986) Homosexuality and the problem of AIDS “Danny Boy” [Danny Boy] (2001) “Tea for Two” [Danny Boy] (2003)

7 About the Two Stories His life experience enabled him to write stories like “Death in Chicago” (1964) and “Li Tung, a Chinese Girl in New York” (1965), both were first published in Modern Literature [hsientai wenhsueh]. After his mother’s death in December, 1962, Pai went to the US for his graduate degree. He went to New York City at first and lived in Manhattan for a while before becoming a part of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in U of Iowa. At the end of 1963, Pai went to Chicago during his Christmas vacation, he started to write “Death in Chicago” there, and it became his first story in almost two years.

8 Pai and Western Modernism “Death in Chicago” (1964) Quotation from The Waste Land (1922) by T. S. Eliot ( ). April is the cruellest month, breeding [Why April?] Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing [Why lilacs?] Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering [Why winter?] Earth in forgetful snow … (p. 346) [“The Burial of the Dead”] [“When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” by W. Whitman] The quotation is followed by this passage of description: “Out in the street, the snow was beginning to melt, and the water came drip-dropping onto his window, spattering the pane with mud” (p. 346). Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences

9 Wu’s Residence (p ) South Clark Street. Surrounded by African American and Puerto Rico neighbors. Ears clasped, the underground room felt like a separate world, and, during winters, Wu’s hidden beneath the snow, feeling like an Eskimo, and very secured. “In winter it was much better, for when the big snows came, the drifts on the sidewalk would pile up several feet high, sealing in the windows. Hiding beneath the mounds of snow was like being an Eskimo, and he felt very secure.” (p ) Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences

10 “Li T’ung, a Chinese Girl in New York” (1965) Death in Venice [Der Tod in Venedig] (1912) by Thomas Mann ( ) Love story between Gustav von Aschenbach and Tadzio. Venice depicted as a city plagued by cholera. Aschenbach died in the end.

11 The Theme of Death Toward the end of “The Burial of the Dead,” Eliot wrote: Unreal City, Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, I had not thought death had undone so many. ( p. 57 ) (From The Waste Land and Other Poems by Eliot, Penguin.) Are there really so many “walking dead” on the bridge? Is death only physical? Had Wu Han-hun and Li T’ung been dead before they died? The interpretation of death, which involves the question one can ask: what is dead in Wu Han-hun and in Li T’ung? Source: TS Eliot. (1998). The Waste Land.Frank Kermode (Eds.) The waste land and other poems. New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books

12 Contrast of Two Urban Images A city which is culturally, materially, and colorfully splendid. “At dark, Chicago in June was like a piece of steak just forked off the grill, golden brown, dripping with juice and filling the air with the smell of succulent meat. A purplish smog had settled on the darkened buildings and there was no sign of a breeze. People out on the town are displaying all the colors of the rainbow...” (p. 350) For the Chicagoan couples waiting outside theater entrances, it seems that “Chicago itself were as great balloon, in which they were riding, soaring upwards into the clouds like lovers in Paradise” (p. 350) Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences

13 Wu kept walking and in the process he saw Palmer House (a Hilton hotel), Marshal Field’s (a department store), the Golden Dome (a night club), and skyscrapers. A Terrifying “City of the Dead” When he entered Monroe Street, he felt he was “unable to follow the beat” of the city, and after his meeting Lorna in Red Magnolia on Rush Street and their sexual encounter in her apartment, Wu’s urban representation becomes much scarier, feeling like he was “trapped in a labyrinth” (p. 356), and after entering Michigan Avenue: Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences

14 “Buildings of pitch black rose up everywhere in uneven rows like giant spirits who had fled their ancient tombs. Wu shuddered as an eerie chill raced up his spine and he began to run blindly forward.... It seemed at this moment just before dawn, time suddenly stiffened and darkness became eternity.... The ghostly towers of Chicago, the snake-like dancers in the Red Magnolia, the wrinkles on Lorna’s back—in an instant he saw once more his mother’s body. The corner of her mouth twitching violently, she was calling to him, ‘You must come back, you must come back.’... He wouldn’t come back.” (p. 356) “Chicago—Chicago is an ancient tomb of Egypt, holding captive millions of the living and the dead, being consumed together, rotting, together” (p. 358). Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences

15 “Death in Chicago” (1964) Name: the pronunciation of Wu Han-hun [ 吳漢 魂 ] is exactly the same as Without a Chinese Soul [ 吳漢魂 ]. Why there is no use coming back? A purposeless life. Death of mother. Ch’in Ying-fen, his lover, had married someone else three years ago. His 6-year quest for knowledge, it turned out, amounted to nothing, and life for him is nothing more than a tale “told by an idiot, full of sound and fury” (p. 358). Source: Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences

16 Past vs. Present Past [Related to Pai?] His 26 years in Taipei, which we know not much about. His 6 years of graduate school career. He lived in the basement for 6 years, had a deliverer’s job at James Wong’s Chinese Laundry and washing dishes at the Nanking Restaurant, but spent most of his time reading. Present [Related to Pai?] His graduation. He wanted to find a teaching job, but somehow started to feel unfitted in Chicago.

17 “Li T’ung, a Chinese Girl in New York” The Historical Background On Jan. 27, 1949 (one day before Chinese New Year’s Eve), S. S. Peace [t’aip’ing lun] sailed from Shanghai to Keelung, carrying around 1000 passengers and crew members and a lot of overloading freight. It was hit by smaller cargo boat near the Choushan Archipelago, both ships sank not long after the collision. Among the 1000 people on board, only about 50 of them survived the tragic shipwreck. It has often been named “the Oriental Titanic.”

18 S. S. Peace [t’aip’ing lun]

19 19 The historical event is used in the story as the turning point of Li T’ung’s life. “During their third year in the States, the civil war was getting worse in China. When Li T’ung’s family tried to flee from Shanghai to Taiwan on the S. S. Peace, it was sunk on the way. Her whole family were killed in the accident and gone, too, were the valuables they had brought with them.... It was not until after her graduation that Li T’ung recovered her former gaiety. She went to New York and became a fashion designer at Originala, making a big salary, but her three friends all agreed, however, that there had been something disconcerting about Li T’ung ever since.” (p. 222) Source: Pai, Hsien-yung. (1971). C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.), Twentieth-century Chinese stories. New York: Columbia University Press

20 Another Historical Background Wellesley College is a famous women’s college in Mass., America, not very far from Boston. Soong May-ling ( ), wife of President Chiang Kai-shek, graduated from this college in She was a English Literature and Philosophy major. On February 18, 1943, she became the first Chinese national and the second woman to deliver a speech to both houses of the U.S. Congress.

21 Wikipedia Puncsos

22 The Restlessness of Li T’ung The narrator Chen Yin on his wife: “only in New York could she forget that she was in a foreign country,” which shows that maybe Huang Hui-fen and her two friends Chang and Lei had accepted the fact that she couldn’t return to her motherland. Now that she lived in New York, surrounded by her old friends, she could move on and forgot about the past. Though Huang suffered from the problem of insomnia in New York and moved to Buffalo for six years, Huang insisted on moving back in the end.

23 23 Li T’ung Was Quite Different In the eyes of her friends, she has a perfect life: a well-paid job, a high-end apartment on Fifth Avenue in central New York. But how do we explain her growing interest in gambling? Insisting on betting on the horse Bold Lad simply for its pretty name, she said “Why are you so sure I’m going to lose? You people run after a sure thing. I don’t” (p. 229). Maybe gambling was something exciting which can fill her emptiness inside temporarily, but a satisfying life seemed an impossible dream for her despite her financial well-being. Source: Pai, Hsien-yung. (1971). C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.), Twentieth-century Chinese stories. New York: Columbia University Press

24 Description of Urban Life in New York In the beginning story starts at Boston, but then after four girls graduate from university, they move to New York. The way of life which Li Tung and her friends held sounds exactly like common New Yorkers: they gambled, played mahjong, went to horse racings, and got drunk. Li Tung always prefers Manhattan drink to champagne, which is way stronger and has much more alcohol inside, which also suits more to the stronger personality. [On one occasion, Li Tung went to Tavern on the Green in Central Park with friends, and finished five or six Manhattans before the dinner ended.]

25

26 The Spider Hairpin as a Symbol The first time we see the description: “On the left temple just above her ear was a hairpin, a big glistening spider made of small diamonds, it’s claws digging into her hair, its fat, roundish body tilted upward”(p. 223). It was the first meeting of the narrator and Li T’ung, and she was happy, sparkling and shinning. “Diamond spider had slid down almost to the end of the flowing mane around her shoulder, swaying there as if it were suspended from some invisible filament” (p. 225). At this scene in the Central Park, we start to see a more and more pathetic and embarrassing Chinese girl in Li. Source: Pai, Hsien-yung. (1971). C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.), Twentieth-century Chinese stories. New York: Columbia University Press Source: Pai, Hsien-yung. (1971). C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.), Twentieth-century Chinese stories. New York: Columbia University Press

27 The third time we see the spider pin is during a Long Island House party held by Huang and Chen: “The diamond spider was still there, squatting on her left cheek, fierce, shimmering” (p. 233). During that party, Li Tung acted even more strangely: at first, she didn’t join the company, and just fell asleep on the couch; then, seeing the little girl Lili toying with her diamond ring, which had been brought from Shanghai to the States and should be a part of her dowry, she just gave it to the girl, and then refused Chen’s offer of her being Lili’s godmother. Source: Pai, Hsien-yung. (1971). C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.), Twentieth-century Chinese stories. New York: Columbia University Press

28 The Big Four as a Symbol “Standing together in their flaming silks, they literally lit up the Lung-hua Airport, and as they looked at one another they bent double with laughter. Li T’ung claimed they were the big Four of the postwar world—China, America, Great Britain, and Russia.” Li T’ung: China, because her gown was the brightest. Chang Chia-hsing: Russia, because she was the chubbiest of the four. What does this detail symbolize?

29 The narrator said that he knew, in their Big Four Club, Li T’ung represented China, and it is followed by Li’s own comment: “Don’t you dare mention it,” Li T’ung cried. “This China of yours has been beaten at every game, a catastrophic loser. You think I could win playing against those content to win small games? You go and ask Chang Chia-hsing: half of my paycheck each month goes into her purse” (p. 224). Though she was talking about mahjong, it implies ROC’s catastrophic defeat to the communist PRC. Source: Pai, Hsien-yung. (1971). C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.), Twentieth-century Chinese stories. New York: Columbia University Press

30 Death of Li T’ung  “How can one account for it? Why should she kill herself?”, cried Chang Chia-Hsing, “She earned more money than any of us here ― how could she be so fed up with everything?” (p. 236)  Lei Chih-ling said that Li died because she did not settled down and got married.  Chang argued further, “Li T’ung shouldn’t have gone to Europe by herself. A Chinese should never do that, running around in Europe by herself like the Americans. … She ought to have stayed in New York; at least we could have kept her busy with cards or something. Then she wouldn’t have had the time to die.” (p ) Source: Pai, Hsien-yung. (1971). C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.), Twentieth-century Chinese stories. New York: Columbia University Press Source: Pai, Hsien-yung. (1971). C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.), Twentieth-century Chinese stories. New York: Columbia University Press

31 【 List of Discussion Questions for Chrystal Boys 】 Please say something about the main characters: Prince Dragon Phoenix Boy A-qing Little Jade Wu Min Mousey Chief Yang Papa Fu

32 Which main character impresses you the most? What are the places in the West District described in the novel? What are the places in the East District described in the novel? What is New Park? How is it related to the story? Where is “Cozy Nest”? How is it related to the story? How is Taipei represented in the story? [Urban images] Does the novel say anything about the changes of Taipei? How are New York and Tokyo represented in the story? What are the functions of the two cities in the novel?

33 Copyright Declaration PageWork LicensingAuthor/Source 2 Wikipedia VOA 2013/10/01 visited 4 Wikipeida Peterpan 2013/10/01 visited 8 Earth in forgetful snow … Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(p. 346). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences 8 “Out in the street, the snow was…, spattering the pane with mud” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(p. 346). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences 9 “In winter it was much better, … an Eskimo, and he felt very secure.” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(pp ). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences 10 Wikipedia Lady Ottoline Morrell 2013/10/01 visited

34 Copyright Declaration PageWork LicensingAuthor/Source 10 Wikipedia Carl Van Vechten 2013/10/01 visited 11 I had not thought death had undone so many. TS Eliot. (1998). The Waste Land Frank Kermode (Eds.) The waste land and other poems. (p.53).New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books 12 “At dark, Chicago in June was …displaying all the colors of the rainbow...” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(p. 350). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences 12 Chicago itself were as … like lovers in Paradise. Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(p. 350). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences 13 When he entered Monroe … feeling like he was “trapped in a labyrinth” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(p. 356). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences 14 “Buildings of pitch black rose up everywhere in …back.’... He wouldn’t come back.” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(p. 356). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences

35 Copyright Declaration PageWork LicensingAuthor/Source 14 “Chicago—Chicago is an ancient … consumed together, rotting, together” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(p. 358). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences 15 His 6-year quest for knowledge, … of sound and fury” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1979). Death in Chicago. Tamkang Review, (Spring 1979).(p. 358). Taipei, Taiwan : Graduate Institute of Western Languages and Literature Research, Tamkang College of Arts and Sciences 18 Dickson Gregory's “Australian Steamships Past and Present” ( ) According to Taiwan Copyright Act Article 30, the copyright of the work has expired and inapplicable. It belongs to public domain and publicly available. 19 “During their third year in the States, the … about Li T’ung ever since.” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1971). Li T'ung: A Chinese Girl in New York C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.) Twentieth-century Chinese stories (p. 222). New York: Columbia University Press 21 Wikipedia Puncsos 2013/10/01 visited 21 Wikipeida: Author Unknown 2013/10/01 visited

36 Copyright Declaration PageWork LicensingAuthor/Source 23 Insisting on betting on the horse Bold …You people run after a sure thing. I don’t. Pai, Hsien-yung.(1971). Li T'ung: A Chinese Girl in New York C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.) Twentieth-century Chinese stories (p. 229). New York: Columbia University Press 25 Wikipeida Jim.henderson 2013/10/01 visited 26 The first time we see the description: “On the left …roundish body tilted upward” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1971). Li T'ung: A Chinese Girl in New York C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.) Twentieth-century Chinese stories (p. 223). New York: Columbia University Press 26 “Diamond spider had slid down … from some invisible filament” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1971). Li T'ung: A Chinese Girl in New York C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.) Twentieth-century Chinese stories (p. 225). New York: Columbia University Press 27 The third time we see the spider pin is during …left cheek, fierce, shimmering” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1971). Li T'ung: A Chinese Girl in New York C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.) Twentieth-century Chinese stories (p. 233). New York: Columbia University Press 29 “Don’t you dare mention it…paycheck each month goes into her purse” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1971). Li T'ung: A Chinese Girl in New York C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.) Twentieth-century Chinese stories (p. 224). New York: Columbia University Press

37 Copyright Declaration PageWork LicensingAuthor/Source 30 “How can one account for it? Why should she …could she be so fed up with everything?” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1971). Li T'ung: A Chinese Girl in New York C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.) Twentieth-century Chinese stories (p. 236). New York: Columbia University Press 30 Chang argued further, “Li T’ung … she wouldn’t have had the time to die.” Pai, Hsien-yung.(1971). Li T'ung: A Chinese Girl in New York C. T. Hsia and Joseph S. M. Lau(Eds.) Twentieth-century Chinese stories (pp ). New York: Columbia University Press


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