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Finding Mobile Subjectivity under Enforced Duality: Pearl Buck’s Life Writings about Two Countries

Authors
방인식
Issue Date
Feb-2012
Publisher
한국현대영어영문학회
Citation
현대영어영문학, v.56, no.1, pp.305 - 336
Journal Title
현대영어영문학
Volume
56
Number
1
Start Page
305
End Page
336
URI
https://scholarworks.sookmyung.ac.kr/handle/2020.sw.sookmyung/147651
ISSN
1738-7620
Abstract
Scholarship has mainly focused on the historical validity of representation by which Pearl S. Buck sought to describe Chinese subjects in her novels such as The Good Earth. However, this approach marginalized her national, racial, and literary locations both in China and the United States because Buck’s lived experience was not easily categorized under a homogenized structure. Instead of this linear approach to her novels, reading Buck’s life narrative is useful in understanding how Western powers, using modern technologies, created disturbing spatiotemporal zones and widened the binary structure of the Occidental self and the Other. In her autobiography and other life narrative, Buck debunks this period during which the United States, following other Western imperial powers, expanded its imperial and colonial projects in Asia. In addition, unable to identify her mobile subjectivity under the binary structure of the West and the Other, Buck attempts to create an alternative rhetoric in her My Several Worlds and other life writings. That is, she employs her life narrative as a critical space in which she not only resists a dualistic structure of the United States and China but also persuades an American audience to be awakened from the discourse of the U.S. empire.
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