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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Descriptions on the Bodies of Expectant Mothers and Sick Women in Xiao Hong’s novels

Vol. 31 No. 3   9/2001  


Descriptions on the Bodies of Expectant Mothers and Sick Women in Xiao Hong’s novels


Lim Chin Chown









Key words

Xiao Hong, Body discourse, feminism, grotesque realism


   This paper attempts to look into Xiao Hong’s writing characteristics on female personalities based on her premarital pregnancy experience in her early years, with special attention given to the phenomenon of pregnancy, childbirth and difficult labor. Among the varied female descriptions in Xiao Hong’s novels, such pregnancy-related images are especially striking. They are a form of writing bearing with gender awareness and body discourse in Xiao Hong’s literary works. In the early years of Xiao Hong’s writing career, some personal women experiences such as pregnancy and childbirth, constitute the resources for her text construction and contribute to the collective imagination on females in the modern Chinese literature. In fact, in Xiao Hong’s novels, morbid descriptions on women’s bodies such as illness, grotesque, lowliness and distortion are aplenty, contributing to an epic description of women’s bodies. Such unique narration highlights the ugly pictures of female bodies and presented via a grotesque realism narrative strategy. Besides, this paper presents a narrative strategy of naturalistic mimesis to discuss Xiao Hong’s descriptions of female bodies and images. Such narrative strategy provides Xiao Hong with a room for imagination on naturalistic mimesis and animal images. Women are metaphors of a variety of animal images, enabling the innermost being of female personalities to metamorphose as the varied animals in nature. This can be deemed as female (local) writers imitating naturalistic mimesis in nature in their writing. It is also a metaphorical narration of fables on female bodies.



Author: Lim Chin Chown
Genre: Article
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