A Free Life
A Free Life
Transnational Reconstruction of Chinese Wen Masculinity
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.
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