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The Cosmopolitan DreamTransnational Chinese Masculinities in a Global Age$
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Derek Hird and Geng Song

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455850

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455850.001.0001

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A Free Life

A Free Life

Transnational Reconstruction of Chinese Wen Masculinity

Chapter:
(p.87) 5 A Free Life
Source:
The Cosmopolitan Dream
Author(s):

Lezhou Su

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888455850.003.0006

This chapter examines the novel A Free Life by Ha Jin in terms of (re) construction of Chinese Wen masculinity in a transnational context. The analysis suggests that while the story is mainly about the protagonist Nan’s journey to settle down in the U.S with his wife and son, the plot is parallel with another hidden thread that runs through it, which is his personal transformation from the loss of masculineness to the build-up of a new type of Wen masculinity. The analysis also finds out that the novel seems to use emasculation of the male characters as the signifier of the dark side of Chinese traditional culture and the current political system. Through depicting Nan’s struggle and success in settling down the novel embraces individualism as a remedy to Chinese masculinity, redefining the ideal of Wen Chinese intellectuals in American context.

Keywords:   Chinese Wen masculinity, reconstruction, individualism

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