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STRANGE ROMANCE S IN A FALLEN CITY: GOTHIC DOMESTICITY AND NATIONAL ALLEGORY IN ZHANG AILING'S CHUANQI BY JORDAN CAMPBELL A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for t he degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Aijun Zhu, Phd. Sarasota, Florida May 20 13
! "" Acknowledgements I would like to express my deep gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Aijun Zhu, who has always encouraged and supported me from the very first Chi nese literature tutorial. Her patient guidance, constructive suggestions, and insightful editing throughout the writing process have been deeply appreciated. I would also like to thank Dr. Jing Zhang and Dr. Emily Fairchild, both for serving on my baccalau reate committee and for their guidance as my academic advisors during the first two years of my college career Dr. Zhang was my first Chinese teacher, and her con sta nt enthusiasm and encouragement throughout the years motivated me to continue in my studie s of the language and inspired me to work hard and do my best I would like to extend my thanks to fr iends, some of whom are also roommates and coworkers who have supported me this year in ways big and small: Erica Herzig, Cady Gonzalez, Elliot Evins, Ol ivia Levinson, Jessa Baker Moss, Lacy Mroz, Arielle Scherr, Tyler Whitson, Morgan Shafter, Johannah Birney, Zoe Rayor, Ruth Silimon, Victoria Jara, Michelle Wheat, and Kay Saffe Each of them did something (or many things) that made my life better in some way or another. I also wish to thank my family: m y brother, Jameson Campbell, for his frequent phone calls and his emotional support; my mother, Penny Darling, for her help in reading and editing my thesis as well as her financial assistance during times o f crisis ; and my father, Tim Campbell, without whom I would have been immobile. My parents, stepparents, brothers, and grandparents have all lovingly supported and encouraged me throughout my studies, for which I am endlessly grateful.
! """ Table of Contents Acknowledgements ................................ ................................ ................................ ii Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. iv Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 1 Dualism: the logic of colonization ................................ .............................. 3 Organization of the Thesis ................................ ................................ .......... 6 Chapter One ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 Haunted History : Strange Shanghai and the Origins of the Gothic ......................... 9 Origins of the Gothic and the Uncanny Other ................................ ............ 9 Strange S hanghai: Semicolonial History and Cosmopolitan Modernity .. 16 Women, War, Domesticity : Shanghai Under Japanese Occupation .......... 24 Zhang Ailing (1920 1995): A Beauty in a Turbulent Time ...................... 27 Chapter Two ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 3 4 Gothic Domesticity in Chuanqi : A House Marked by History ............................. 34 Home as Nation: a Framework for politicizing Gothic Domesticity ........ 35 Gendere d Gothic plot and the Structure of Society ................................ .. 39 The Haunted House : Marked by History ................................ .................. 46 Love Pathologized: p sycho logical disturbance and Gothic e motion ........ 49 Nature the S ublim e and Desolation ................................ ........................ 54 Chapter Three ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 58 A Hong Kong Tale From Before the War: Aloeswood Incense as Gothic National A llegory ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 58 Hong Kong and Shanghai: "A Tale of Two Cities" ................................ 60 Home as Nation: Imperial T omb ................................ .............................. 69 Emergence of the Gothic : colonization as a psychological state .............. 76 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 89 Works Cited ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 93
! "# STRANGE ROMANCES IN A FALLEN CITY: GOTHIC DOMESTICITY AND NATIONAL ALLEGORY IN ZHANG AILING'S CHUANQI Jordan Campbell New College of Florida, 2013 ABSTRACT This pr oject is focused on Gothic domesticity in Zhang Ailing's Chuanqi a collection of immensely popular novellas and short stories of romance published during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in the Sino Japanese War My primary focus is on the social and p olitical contexts that shape Gothic narratives in general and how those contexts influence the Gothic elements in Zhang's fiction. Gothic narratives are social documents that respond to societal fears and anxieties about cultural shifts and dislocation su ch as those caused by the May Fourth project of total Westernization Using the model of home as nation' from Post colonial Gothic theory, I argue that the domestic space of Zhang's romance narratives can be understood as allegorical for the national. The unhomeliness of the domestic space and intimate relationships in Chuanqi reveal the tensions within the underlying patriarchal structures of the time and place, such as c olonialism, Orientalism, and sexism. In particular, the novella Aloeswood Incense t he tragic story of a young woman's coming of age and corruption of innocence, is read as a Gothic national allegory for the failure of the May Fourth enlightenment project in the face of colonialism and Orientalism. Professor Aijun Zhu Division of Humanit ies
! $ Introduction Zhang Ailing (1920 1995) was a female author who rose to fame during wartime in 1940s Shanghai, quickly becoming "the most prominent author and pub lic intellectual of the period," and "perhaps more famous than the most acclaimed movie a ctresses and popular singers" (Mostow 458 459). The city was under Japanese occupation, and Zhang was one of the major players in an unprecedented literary movement of young female writers and publishers who dominated the arena with personal narratives and a focus on domesticity and women's lives. After the war, Zhang's essays and love stories were criticized as apolitical and collaborationist with the Japanese government, because of her participation in Japanese backed literary journals and her focus on lo ve and domesticity rather than war and nationalism. However, Zhang again became popular in Taiwan and Hong Kong after her recanonization by literary scholars like C.T Hsia and Shui Jing in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and with the "reexamination of lite rary history in the post Mao era," especially in the wave of nostalgia for Old Shanghai, "a renewed Eileen Chang fever' swept through cities on the mainland" (Mostow 458). In addition to commercial popularity, Zhang's writing has received lots of attenti on in academia. Among recent scholarship about Zhang that is relevant to my project is Ma Zuqiong's dissertation proposing to read Zhang's stories as Chinese Female Gothic. Ma argued that Zhang's Female Gothic was a rebellion against the Chinese Gothic' t radition, chuanqi subverting these strange tales of supernatural sexualized women with images of the female grotesque and themes of entrapment and escape. 1 As I went on to read more academic literature on the Gothic, I found the cultural and historical !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 For more on the strange tradition in Chinese literature, see Judith Zeitlin's Historian of the Stra nge: Pu Songling and the Chinese Classical Tale
! % si milarities between the period in which Zhang was writing and the times in which Gothic narratives emerge d to be interesting. Gothic narratives tend to crop up during times of cultural change and instability, as a response to societal fears and anxieties ab out changing frames of reference. The supernatural and strange elements such as ghosts, haunted mansions, and family curses, which shift the boundaries of reality, are symbolic of real breakages or shifts in the cultural reality of contemporary readers tha t make the world seem strange and unstable It would make sense, then, that if Zhang's stories can be construed as Gothic, they would reflect not just sexism, but the many cultural dislocations caused by the drastic ideological shift, modernization, semico lonialism, and wars that were affecting China in the first half of the 20th century. This project is focused on Zhang Ailing's Chuanqi a collection of immensely popular novellas and short stories of romance published during the Japanese occupation of Sha nghai in the Sino Japanese War The title of the collection is a reference to the Chinese literary tradition of the strange and fantastical known as chuanqi which I mentioned earlier. I am inspired by Ma Zuqiong's comparison between the Chinese strange t ales and the female Gothic plot in Zhang's stories. However, my primary focus is on the social and political contexts that shape Gothic narratives in general and how those contexts influence the Gothic elements in Zhang's fiction. Therefore, this project explores the historical context of Gothic narratives in order to show the political impetus behind Zhang's writing My main argument is that a Gothic reading of Zhang's Chuanqi reveal s the underlying patriarchal structures of the time and place, such as co lonialism, Orientalism, and classism, as well as sexism. In particular, I focus on Aloeswood Incense a novella set in Hong Kong that I read as a Gothic
! & national allegory for the failure of the Chinese modernist project in the face of colonialism and Ori entalism. In my analysis, I draw on Shih Shu Mei's study of Chinese Modernism and Edwa rd Said's well known theory of O rientalism to understand the historical and political context of Chuanqi and use Julie Hakim Azzam's model of postcolonial Gothic as the framework to analyze Aloeswood as a Gothic national romance. Before delving in further, I will introduce Val Plumwood's ecofe minist theory of dualism, which will be employed as the fundamental structural concept underlying my analysis of Gothic narrative s and Zhang's fiction. Dualism: the logic of colonization In her ecofeminist tract Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, philosopher Val Plumwood explores the concept of dualism, "the construction of a devalued and sharply demarcated sphere of otherness" wh ich underlies systems of oppression such as gender, race, colonialism, and orientalism (Plumwood 41). Plumwood argues that dualism is the result of a denied dependency o f the master on a subordinated O ther, requiring a dualistic logical structure that natu ralizes and vali dates the subordination of the O ther (41). Dualisms form an interlocking structure of contrasting pairs, such as reason/nature, culture/nature, male/female, mind/body, master/slave, reason/emotion, civilized/primi tive, public/private, and self/O ther (Plumwood 43). Plumwood argues that this "set of interrelated and mutually reinforcing dualisms" permeates all of Western culture, forming "a fault line which runs through its entire conceptual system" (42). As an ecofeminist, Plumwood sees this system as not entirely reducible to male/female, but essentially a reason/nature contrast validating man's dominion over nature. However, gender does play an important role in dualism, which can be illustrated by the gendered
! reason/nature contrast, wher ein men are associated with, among other things, reason, culture, mind, civilization, the public, and the self, and women are associated with nature, body, emotion, the p rimitive, the private, and the O ther. The structure of this reason/nature dualism is the perspective of power" which constructs a White, male, Eurocentric worldview as the dominant perspective. Those who lie outside of this perspective are constru cted by exclusion as marginal "O thers," "as some form of nature in contrast to the subject, th e master, who claims for himself both full humanity and reason" while denyi ng humanity and reason for the O ther (Plumwood 44). Dualism is more than just a set of distinctions or dichotomies, and is more rigid than hierarchy. Although, as in hierarchy, "t he qualitiesthe culture, the values and the areas of life associated w ith the O ther are systematically and pervasively constructed and depicted as inferior," dualism is internalized to such a degree that it defines both the oppressor and the oppressed. As Plumwood states: Once the process of domination forms culture and constructs identity, the inferiorized group (unless it can marshal cultural resources for resistance) must internalize this inferiorization in its identity and collude in this low valuation honoring the values of the center, which form the dominant social valuesA dualism is an intense, established and developed cultural expression of such a hierarchical relationship, constructing central cultural concepts and identities so as to make equal ity and mutuality literally unthinkable. (47) Dualism thus permeates cultural thought to such a degree that it is seen as "natural" and right 2 Dualistic thought usually creates polarized difference, assigning characteristics !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 One of the ways that this is accomplished is that contrasting pairs are latched onto pre existing forms of difference. For example, the male/female pair clearly aligns w ith an existing biological distinction between
! ( exclusively to one side or th e other (as much as possible) and denying continuity or overlap. This prevents sympathy or identification between the members of the dominant and subordinated classes (49). It also creates a "false dichotomy" that naturalizes domination by "making it appea r to be part of the nature of each and in the nature of things, and yields two hyperseparated orders of being" (Plumwood 51). The concept of hyperseparation brings us to Plumwood's argument that dualism results from denied dependency. In contrasted pairs the two relata are defined as opposites, with one being superior and the other inferior; however, the nature of opposites requires the existence of both, for one cannot be defined without the contrasting nature of the O ther. Thus, the existence of the se lf requires the existence of the O ther, because the identity of the self is defined against the O ther; "it is the slave who makes the master a master, the colonized who make the colonizer, the periphery which makes the center" (Plumwood 48 49). This depend ency on the slave is "hated and feared by the master, for it subtly challenges his dominance, and is denied in a variety of indirect and direct ways, with all the consequences of repression" (49). As a "fault line" running through the entire conceptual sy stem of Western culture, dualism can be found underlying patriarchal oppression in its various forms, including those most pertinent to this thesis: colonialism, O rientalism, and sexism. The colonized is the Other to the colonizer, the Orient is the Other of the West, and the female is the Other of the patriarchal order. Dualism can also be found in the Gothic; in fact, the G othic !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!! male and female genitalia. However, in order to legitimize the domination of man over woman, the number of differences between the two relata is maximized and emphasized, and any shared qualities are eliminate d or treated as inessential. An example of this is the "correction" of intersex infants who are born with ambiguous external genitalia. Other examples of this in modern Western culture are the emphasis on body hair removal, make up, and the wearing of "fem inine" clothing such as dresses and high heels to exaggerate women's physical difference from men, and the discouragement of male displays of emotion or affection (because emotion is associated with the feminine)
! ) seems to have originated as a backlash against the reason/nature dualism that emerged in Enlightenment thought. The myth of the G othic is the myth of the patriarchal family As Anne Williams theorized, the entire concept of the G othic is, in a sense, based upon the fear/hatred caused by the paterfamilias's denied dependency on the mother as the Other against whom he defines his own self. Gothic anxiety arises from threats to dualistic logic, fear of the inferiorized O ther returning to assert itself and disrupt the patriarchal order. Organization of the Thesis In chapter one, I argue that there is a socio historical impetus behind the Gothic elements in Chuanqi I first provide an overview of the Gothic narrative and its origins, focusing on the history of the European Gothic canon and its gradual evolution into a mode of literature This overview demonstrates the way that Gothic na rratives react to the socio historical contexts in which they are written I then give an overview of Shanghai's semicolonial history and the intrusion of the West into China. I demonstrate that Shanghai cosmopolitanism and Chinese modernity were both root ed in Western imperialism, and outline the onset of Sino Japanese War and the Japanese Occupation of Shanghai. After outlining the numerous social changes leading up t o the period of Zhang's writing, I provide a short biography on Zhang to show the great i mpact of these cultural shifts on her own life. This chapter contextualize s Zhang's stories and show s 2 0 th century China's similarity to the periods in which canon Gothic narratives emerged. In chapter two, I argue that Chuanqi is permeated by Gothic dome sticity manifesting the social anxieties of Shanghai in the domestic sphere and through the intimate relationships of Zhang's characters. To show the connection between
! domesticity and the political (including gender and race), I use Julie Hakim Azzam's t heory of Postcolonial Gothic in relation to the tradition of the Female Gothic. Azzam references Homi Bhabha's theory of the unhomely in world literature as arising from the collapse of the public and private spheres. This collapse occurs in the depiction of home within national allegories, as the family relationships/domestic sp aces become the stage on which national crises are played out. The events of everyday life take on political significance, as does the image of woman as the primary figure of the do mestic sphere. Looking at the stories Love in a Fallen City, Jasmine Tea, and Red Rose, White Rose, I then survey some of the main Gothic elements in Chuanqi such as the Gothic plot, the motif of the haunted house, Gothic emotion, and nature and the sublime. I use examples from these stories to show the presence of the Gothic in Zhang's writing and to explore some of the broader political implications of their symbolism. In chapter three, I conduct an in depth analysis of Aloeswood Incense arguing that it functions as a Gothic national allegory for the failure of the modernist project to eradicate the past and construct a subjective modern Chinese self. I examine the setting of Hong Kong and its role as a mirror of Shanghai, and draw upon Julie Haki m Azzam's model of the Gothic national romance as an allegory for the failure of Postcolonial national projects This reading of Zhang's novellas adds to the growing body of scholarship demonstrating that Zhang's writing and narratives about domestic life and female identity are not apolitical or insignificant. I conclude my project with a brief exploration of Zhang's views on her own writing in response to critics. I stress the importance of recognizing that women's lives
! + are deeply impacted by their hist orical contexts, and that the private sphere is not isolated from the public sphere.
! Chapter 1 Haunted History : Strange Shanghai and the Origins of the Gothic As social documents, then, Gothic narratives topically address prevailing or sublimated f ears of institutions that threaten the essential human. Indeed, as David Punter and Glennis Byron remind us, Gothic narratives appear at times of cultural confusion: the beginning of industrialization, the end of an empire, the rise of the middle class. (J enkins 480) In this chapter, I will argue that there is a socio historical impetus behind the Gothic elements in Zhang Ailing's Chuanqi First, I provide an overview of the Gothic narrative and its origins in the massive cultural shift from faith to reason during the European Enlightenment. Second I delve into the historical context in which Chuanqi was written. Beginning with the semicolonial history of Shanghai and the origins of Chinese modernity and the Chinese enlightenment project, I lead into the Si no Japanese War and the Japanese Occupation of Shanghai during which Zhang arose to fame. Lastly, I show how deeply the socio political situation manifested in Zhang's own life, and how her own story has elements of the Gothic. I argue that a historically contextualized reading of Gothic elements in Chuanqi lends new insight into the narratives, and that the unheimlich in Chuanqi is activated in response to the cultural turbulence resulting from the West's intrusion into China, the Chinese modernist project and the Japanese invasion and occupation of Shanghai. Origins of the Gothic and the Uncanny Other Gothic fiction has been called "a writing of otherness" (Khair 6), wherein the self finds itself "dispossessed in its own house, in a condition of rupture disjunction,
! $! fragmentation." At the heart of Gothic narratives is the feeling of anticipation and dread ar ising from encounters with the O ther, often defined as a feeling of "uncanny." Anne Williams argues that the structure or mythos informing the Gothi c category of "otherness" is the myth of the patriarchal family (22). Operating under a set of gen dered dualisms, including self/O ther, father/mother (also implying male/female), culture/nature, and classica l/Gothic, the emergence of the O ther/mother/natur e/Gothic poses a threat to the patriarchal/cultural order of the paterfamilias. In Gothic narratives, this Other is often supernatural, and indicates a shift in the boundaries of reality which has now become strange and perhaps even dangerous threaten ing the psychological boundaries of the self. Although the Gothic canon is Western, Andrew Hock Soon Ng argues that the Gothic's many subcategories (such as Southern Gothic, female Gothic, postmodern Gothic, and postcolonial Gothic) demonstrate the genre's a bility "to transcend its own historical, cultural, and geographical parameters" (1). Common Gothic themes, such as transgression, boundaries, the return of the repressed, and complicity with evil, are not particular to Western culture, but are "experience d by all throughout history" (Ng 1). By d efining the Gothic as the literature of the uncanny, it can be expanded from its original definition as a Western canon to include narratives of the strange/the uncanny from diverse cultural backgrounds. Ng asserts that narratives employing postcolonial Gothic and magical realism in particular have proliferated in numerous postcolonial countries, as a way of working through crises of identity and cultural heritage and addressing the emotional and physical violence of the colonial past. The uncanny is a concept defined by Freud as "that class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar" ( 220 ). In his 1919 essay
! $$ "The Uncanny,'" Freud delves into the aesthetics of anxiety, seeki ng to locate the nexus of the uncanny. The essay was of course written in German, and "uncanny" is the English translation given to the German word that Freud used, unheimlich literally "unhomely." He observes that unheimlich is the antonym of heimlich (f amiliar, domestic, homely), concluding that un is a signifier of repression, so that the sense of unhemilich emerges from encountering that which was once familiar but has become defamiliarized and estranged from the psyche. This operates both on a person al and societal level; the unheimlich can arise from repressed childhood memories, or it can result from surmounted modes of thought (Freud 247), the repressed myths and superstitions of a society's origins. Although "uncanny" is the English word used to s ymbolize the concept of unheimlich I find the literal translation "unhomely" to be poignant considering that Gothic narratives often focus on home and family. While I agree with Ng's argument that the Gothic has become a mode of literature which transce nds the genre of the European canon, it is nevertheless enlightening to explore the origins of the canon and the evolution of the Gothic in order to better understand what it is and how it functions. The Gothic originated as a Romantic backlash against the European Enlightenment, a cultural movement in the 17 th and 18 th centuries that promoted reason and science over faith and religion giving rise to the reason/nature dualism "Gothic" originally referred to one of several Germanic tribes during the mediev al period of post Roman barbarism Very little is known for certain about the actual Goths due to historical misrepresentations, but the name eventually came to refer to all of the Germanic tribes collectively, and a mythology and primitive aesthetic devel oped around the concept of these "barbaric tribes" who were "instrumental in the
! $% fall of the Roman Empire" (Punter 3). The term "Gothic" became a dualistic term posed in opposition to the "classical" (Azzam 5) representative of a barbaric medieval past th at was disordered and superstitious (Punter 4) Where the classical was modern, simple, pur e, civilized, and elegant, the G othic was archaic, ornate, convoluted, uncivilized, crude, and barbaric (Azzam 5 6). As David Punter argues, the term "Gothic" and i ts association with the primitive have been used in two main ways, for different ideological functions. The first is to identify the Gothic with the "barbaric and uncivilized," "in order to define that which is other to the values of the civilized present" (Punter 5). Conversely, the Gothic is associated with a primitiveness that is "identified with the true, but lost, foundations of a culture" (Punter 5). In either implication, the Gothic "remains the symbolic site of a culture's discursive struggle to def ine and claim possession of the civilized, and to abject, or throw off, what is seen as other to that civilized self" (Punter 5). These two different ways of characterizing England's barbaric past, whether as a wellspring of chaos and disorder threatening modern civilization or as the source of a more essential and enduring morality that has been obscured or lost in the present, are also reflec ted in Gothic narratives. The Other can function either as a threat to the protagonist and the society, or it can w ork to restore the natural order, a fearsome force doling out retribution to those who have committed moral transgressions. Gothic narratives concern the persistence of the unknown and unaccounted for the strange or supernatural Other in the form of vampi res, ghosts, and other monsters that returned from the murky depths of a barbaric past to terrorize the civilized modern self. While the Enlightenment's emphasis on reason and science posited that man was capable
! $& of understanding and mastering the world ar ound him, the Gothic expresses the fear "that there is something inherent in our very mortality that dooms us to a life of incomprehension, a life in which we are forever sunk in mysteries and unable to escape from the deathly consequences of our physical form" (Punter and Byron 12). As such, the Gothic provide s "a dark counternarrative to the narrative of progress and modernity," revealing the shadowy underbelly of enlightenment values (Azzam 1). Gothic narratives tend to emerge in times of cultural turbu lence, such as wartime or the changes wrought on society by industrialization or the rise of the middle class (Jenkins 480), often as a means to "negotiate the anxieties of the age by working through them in a displaced form" (Punter and Byron 39). Early G othic novels were romances with supernatural elements, often centered on inheritance, family curses, and legitimacy, and taking place in exotic locales with crumbling ruins or haunted castles. Published in 1818 during a time of emergent capitalism and indu strialization in England, Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein roughly marks the end of the "classical" period of Gothic novels. The shift in population toward urban centers, the increase in factories, and mechanization of human labor caused feelin gs of "alienation and isolation," distancing the working class both from nature and from "the products of their labor" (Punter and Byron 20). The Gothic "mode" continued to return throughout the Victorian period and into the present (Punter and Byron 26). Victorian Gothic is characterized by a transition to a more domesticated narrative, wherein the exotic, historicized locales and characters of "classical" Gothic gave way to domestic, contemporary settings and more realistic villains such as "criminals, m admen, and scientists" (Punter and Byron 26). This was due in part to appropriation by the
! $' sensation novel, which "focuses on the bourgeois world and is characteristically preoccupied with domestic crime and disorder" (Punter and Byron 26). This period saw the split of the Gothic novel into two plots, the male plot and the female plot. The plot of the male Gothic is usually centered on issues of identity and the transgression of social taboos by the male protagonist. Female characters in these narratives tend to be objectified victims"; their bodies, like the Gothic structures, [are] representations of the barriers between inside and outside that are to be bro ached by the transgressive male (Punter and Byron 279) Typically, the narrative will have an am biguous or unresolved ending, wherein the supernatural elements remain unexplained. In contrast, the female Gothic plot is one in which the female protagonist is threatened by a transgressive male; the narrative will often involve some sort of confinement where she is trapped and pursued in a mansion or castle by a powerful authority figure, and typically the threat is one of death or of defilement. The narrative focuses on her psychological state : the horror is subjective, often a projection of her fears a nd anxieties. Supernatural elements are implied, "but all mysterious events tend ultimately t o be rationalized and explained (Punter and Byron 279) Just as the settings of Gothic novels shifted inward to the English city and domestic sphere, so did the s ource of terror shift from the supernatural and unexplained to the psychological, as is common in female Gothic plots. Authors such as Charlotte and Emily Bronte used Gothic elements in the service of psychological realism, "in order to suggest the powerfu l, irrational and potentially dangerous forces of the mind" (Punter and Byron 30). Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre activated the Gothic both in the service of dramatizing character's intensity of emotion, and as a penetrating social critique.
! $ ( The late 1 9 th century saw a new set of social crises arise, with the decline of England as an Imperial power, growing unrest in its colonies, overcrowded urban slums teeming with crime and disease, and the erosion of traditional values and family structures, includi ng a changing image of female identity with the emergence of the "New Woman" (Punter and Byron 39). Novels such as The Picture of Dorian Gray Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula manifested England's "growing fears about national, social, and psychic deca y" (Punter and Byron 39). The Gothic landscape was increasingly that of the city, "represented as a site of cultural decay and a source of menace" (Punter and Byron 40). These narratives tended to focus on the middle class, "exposing what underlies the sur faces of the supposedly civilized and respectable world" (Punter and Byron 39). Monstrous female characters embodied anxieties about the deterioration of middle class gender ideology, and "Gothic texts of the time repeatedly produce powerful and sexually a ggressive females as alien or monstrous, setting them in opposition to the pure' woman in an attempt to stabilize gendered identity" (Punter and Byron 40). Expanding from the European canon, a plethora of genres employing the Gothic mode have developed o ver the past century, including Southern Gothic, Female Gothic, and Postcolonial Gothic. Recent scholarship on the Gothic in Asian literature has lead Ng to use the term Asian Gothic, which he argues is activated as a counterstrategy to subvert and counter act the Orientalizing power of the Western Gaze. Ng sees the G othic genre as deeply rooted in Asian cultures, with supernatural beings serving as metaphors for different kinds of anxieties and fears. Gothic elements in Asian narratives can also "point to f ragmentations within local experiences of modernity, speci!cally the continuation of
! $) the past in the present, which is signi!ed through haunted spaces and female supernatural beings (Park 107) This particular manifestation of Gothic can be found in some of the New Sensationist narratives written in Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s, such as those by Shi Zhecun. Shi's stories often had supernatural or uncanny elements, and dealt with feelings of anxiety, alienation, dislocation, and psychological obsession in reaction to the overwhelming modern urban space of Shanghai. It was on the heels of this literary movement that Zhang Ailing first emerged as a writer in 1940s Shanghai, echoing similar psychological themes and employing Gothic and supernatural elements t o explore the psychological landscape of that strange and alluring city. It is not surprising that the Gothic mode would be activated by writers in Shanghai, a city whose cultural and political milieu was fraught with the same kinds of tensions and upheava ls that produced the European Gothic. In order to draw a parallel between Zhang's Shanghai and the origins of canon Gothic narratives, and to explicate the specific issues which concerned Shanghainese society, I will now turn to Shanghai's semicolonial pas t, the introduction of Modernism and Enlightenment style values to China, and the Japanese occupation of Shanghai. Strange Shanghai: Semicolonial History and Cosmopolitan Modernity Described as the "Paris of the Orient," Shanghai of the 1920s 30s was a h ighly cosmopolitan metropolis, vastly different from the "tradition bound countryside" that was the rest of China (Lee Shanghai Modern 3 4). As a bustling port city for international trade, Shanghai was an amalgamation of Chinese and Western culture and s erved as the breeding ground for Chinese modernity. Set apart from the rest of China by its modern
! $* consumer culture and heavy foreign influence, Shanghai was a strange and unique city, considered to be a "necessary evil whose advances would eventually be e xtended to the rest of China" (Shih 235). Shanghai's cosmopolitanism had its roots in Western colonialism and hegemony, and was the product of China's century of humiliation' beginning in the mid nineteenth century with the First Opium War The First Opi um War began in 1839 after Qing Emperor Daoguang appointed scholar official Lin Zexu as Commissioner of Canton with orders to put an end to the opium trade (Spence 150). Increasing opium imports were causing a steady flow of silver out of the country, dama ging the national economy (Spence 149). Unfortunately, Britain had invested heavily in the manufacture and distribution of opium, and revenues from the drug played an important role in their "international balance of payments strategy" (Spence 139); Lin's attempts to crack down on the sale and use of opium were met with British military opposition. The war ended in 1842 with the easy defeat of the Chinese forces and the British occupation of Shanghai; the resulting Treaty of Nanjing required the opening of five treaty ports for foreign trade, one of which was Shanghai, and the ceding of Hong Kong to British Rule (Spence 159). This treaty was followed by similarly exploitative treaties with The United States and France, causing the Qing Empire to lose face a nd weakening the Chinese state through loss of control over "vital elements of China's commercial, social, and foreign policies" (Spence 161). These treaties allowed for foreign nationals to establish settlements and conduct trade in treaty ports unhampere d by the Chinese government. This created a semicolonial society as the city was colonized by multiple foreign powers that exerted primarily economic control rather than systematic
! $+ colonization or the establishment of a central colonial government (Shih 3 4). Over the next century, bustling international trade transformed Shanghai into a "Westernized, semicolonial metropolis under the rule of foreign imperialists who enjoyed extraterritorial and extractive rights in its foreign concessions" (Fu 67). The in trusion of the West into China only increased in the first half of the twentieth century, in the form of both invading armies and the importation of Western culture Moreover, t he end of the institution of imperial rule resulted in the breakdown of the tra ditional Confucian framework of culture and morality and the beginning of a nation wide backlash against traditional ideas and values (Lin 17). In response, the Chinese Nationalist s took up the banner of "Western democratic and scientific ideas and values" (Lin 11) as a way to strengthen and rebuild the Chinese state so as to "catch up" with the West and Westernized Japan. This push for modernization culminated in the May Fourth movement of 1919, a radical and more urgent continuation of the modernist revo lt against traditional culture and foreign imperialism. P opular culture in the wake of the May Fourth movement was dominated by ideals of freedom, individualism, and newness such as "New Culture," "New Youth," and the "New Woman." The emphasis on "newness was the product of May Fourth intellectuals' overhaul of Chinese tradition, undergirded by the construction of a series of dichotomies pitting Chinese tradition against Western modernity. This can be illustrated by a series of contrasting pairs, many of which correspond to Plumwood's dualistic contrast sets between reason/nature. Shu mei Shih outlines the series of dichotomies as follows:
! $, China The West old new ancient/past modern/present traditional modern spiritual material mental physical feudal c onstitutional agricultural industrial pacifist militarist family based individualistic emotional ruled by law calm active intuitive rational pessimistic optimistic fatalistic creative progressivist dependent independent (53) The main signifier attached t o each pair was temporal. In other words, "time became the final measure of difference between the two cultures," and "China needed only to overcome its outdatedness and belatedness to become modern" (Shih 53). This dualistic construction of China as th e past and the West as the modern present gave rise to what Shih calls a "systematic denunciation" of China and Chinese national character. While late Qing reformers advocated the appropriation of Western
! %! culture for the improvement of traditional Chinese culture, the May Fourth project advocated total Westernization. This shift to the discourse of Occidentalism was part of a gradual loss of agency in China's confrontation with the West; "For the May Fourth intellectuals, the locus of cultural power was no longer the self who could use Western culture as it saw fit," but "instead an alien Other that was to be welcomed with open arms to replace the old self and usher in its rebirth." The West was inserted "into the Chinese cultural imaginary as the arbiter of cultural capital, and ultimately of symbolic power" (Shih 129 130). Shih takes issue with critics who have equated Occidentalism with Orientalism, arguing that in both discourses, it is always the West who is posited as the universal: When the West used the Orient as self consolidating alterity, the Orient was the particular against which the Western universal could be reaffirmed. But when Chinese Occidentalism appropriated the West, the West was seen as the universal, its prerogative of modernity the goa l of universal history. (134) Occidentalis m was thus in many ways a self O thering discourse and a parallel to Orientalism, in which the Western self was constructed as the universal self and the traditional Chinese self pushed to the margins of otherness. Modernity was China's major public discourse of the early 20th century; however, it was mostly an urban phenomenon, flourishing primarily in large cities with a Western presence. While the May Fourth Movement originated from college students in Beijing, S hanghai soon became the cultural and political locus of Chinese modernity, home to the majority of the country's newspapers and publishing houses (Lee Shanghai Modern 45).
! %$ By the Republican Era, Shanghai had become China's commercial, financial, and in dustrial capital (Huang 2). Shanghai of the 1920s and 19 30s was geopolitically divided, with roughly half of the city being taken up by the French Concession and the International Settlement, each of which had "separate legal jurisdictions" (Shih 236). The se foreign concessions were characterized by wealth, glamor, and power, and it was common for Chinese writers and intellectuals to take residence there for the easy access to modern amenities and freedom of political expression (Huang 2). The relative free dom of expression afforded by the concessions created the perfect environment for a diversity of literary and cultural development, such as the polemic debate s on revolutionary literature as well as the flourishing of the popular literature of "Mandarin D ucks and Butterfly School" and New Sensationist fiction (Wong 9, Mostow 402). 3 In Perry Link's ambitious overview and analysis of Butterfly fiction and its historical context, he attributes the popularity of "escapist" literature to the rapidly moderniz ing urban environment of readers, particularly in Shanghai. Link argues that rapid and drastic societal changes created in the reader a desire to escape the stresses and anxieties of trying to keep up with the pace of modern urban life. The Western semicol onial presence was an added burden in cities like Shanghai, where "severe !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! & The heated debate was conducted "in the form of ar ticles published by prominent writers in some of the leading literary magazines of the time" (Mostow 402) about what revolutionary literature was, whether literature was obliged to reflect the contemporary social reality, and whether it should or even coul d speak for the working class (Mostow 404). Criticisms were also leveled at the "literature of escapism" encompassing love stories and lyrical poetry that had so proliferated the public sphere, arguing that it was "too detached from contemporary social rea lity" (Mostow 403). Despite these criticisms, "escapist" literature such as the immensely popular literature of the "Mandarin Ducks and Butterfly School" (also known as the Saturday School) flourished from roughly 1910 1930 (Lee Intellectual History 153)
! %% psychological pressures also arose from the city's cultural and historical crisis vis vis the West" (Link 198). Ambivalence about Westernized modernity and urban life also manifes ted heavily in New Sensationist fiction, a modernist school that drew from Japanese and European literature and create d a n innovative style to capture the urban milieu and fast pace of Shanghai. New Sensationists were attracted to "the dynamic environment of the metropolis and its urban culture" (Mostow 419). Many of them were new to the city, reveling in and writing about the overwhelming sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of Shanghai's vibrant material culture. Banks, hotels, churches, department stores clubs, cinemas, skyscrapers, coffeehouses, restaurants, and deluxe apartments served as visual markers of both modernization and the "Western hegemonic presence" (Lee Shanghai Modern 6). The tension between Westernization as modernization and the West as the colonial and exploitative power resulted in much ambivalence and a subsequent "strategy of bifurcation" used by "self styled" cosmopolitan intellectuals and writers in Shanghai (231). In other words, intellectuals constructed metropolitan Western and Japanese culture as the object of desire to incorporate or become contemporaneous with, while repudiating the humiliating presence of Western and Japanese colonial culture" (Shih 231). Shih argues that the very real relationship between "the metropolit an and the colonial West/Japan" would have posed too big of a contradiction for May Fourth intellectuals to face, a "contradiction reconcilable only through the nationalistic rejection of both, which would in turn invalidate the enlightenment project itsel f" (231, 232). Thus,
! %& it was out of necessity that the enlightenment project often focused on the rejection of tradition, gliding over "the question of colonial domination" (Shih 232). This bifurcation of metropolitan and colonial Western/Japanese culture was even more relevant and necessary for Shanghainese writers and intellectuals in the decade before the Sino Japanese war, when merely living in the city forced one to daily confront these physical manifestations of the Western presence. T he psychologic al themes of repression, obsession, and the erotic" allowed New Sensationists "to probe the loneliness, anxiety, and alienation of the metropolis" (Mostow 419). Shih describes the psychological angst of modern urban living: Capitalist modernity was the onl y reality to reckon with, and this reckoning became interiorized as there was no other readily available means such as tradition and its reincarnation as nativism with which to refute the overwhelming stimuli from its onslaught. Hence the predominance of d escriptions of the psychological and physical symptoms resulting from modern stimuli in new sensationist narratives: neurasthenia, delusions, anxiety, neurosis, fatigue, libidinal pathologies, and so forth. Indeed, what we witness is the physical and psych ic consequences to those who have absorbed the May Fourth ideology of total Westernization. This ideology was not realized as a social project (as had been wished), but instead manifested as itself as psychological disturbance and erotic excess. (Shih 376) The New Sensationis t movement was cut short by the "exigencies of war" in the late 1930s (Mostow 418). The impending war with Japan led to widespread calls for "engaged, patriotic writing known as literature for national defense' ( guofang wenxue ),"
! %' and t he beginning of the war in 1937 led to "paper shortages and the destruction of printing plants," halting the production of modernist literary journals (Mostow 422). However, New Sensationism's vivid and creative depictions of urban life would be revived in Zhang Ailing's numerous essays and short fiction during Shanghai's occupation period, and would have a lasting influence on Chinese urban modernist literature. Women, War, Domesticity : Shanghai Under Japanese Occupation Shanghai was seized by Japan in N ovember 1937. Japan had first attacked Beijing in July of the same year, and had gradually taken over the entire Eastern coast from Manchuria to Guangdong. Puppet regimes were installed in the occupied territories, but Shanghai's foreign concessions remain ed independent and served as a "free zone" for Chinese film and literary production (Fu 68). For the next few years, the Shanghai concessions under Western rule existed as two islands surrounded by Japanese army forces; this period was known as the Orphan Island Era. During this time, a group of leftist writers and famous Shanghai modernists rallied together, living in the concessions and producing nationalist art and literature. The "formal outbreak" of the Pacific War began on December 7, 1941 when Japan bombed the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, and the next day the Japanese army seized control of Shanghai's foreign settlements (Huang 4). This was the start of Shanghai's occupation era. Shortly after the total occupation, the Japanese tightened cont rol over Shanghai's cultural production, suppressing the nationalist sentiments and voices of resistance that had reigned during the Orphan Island Era. Western references in popular culture were also censored, and Japan promoted the ideology of a "New East Asia Order," justifying
! %( their takeover as the uniting of Japan and China against the forces of Western imperialism (Fu 68). Many of the Orphan Island writers and intellectuals went underground, refused to write as a means of political protest, or fled to unoccupied Western China or Hong Kong to escape censorship (Huang 6). The suppression of Nationalist discourse and Western influence completely changed the shape of Shanghai popular culture. Writers had to develop more subtle strategies of voicing defianc e against the occupation, and the cultural arena shifted from being highly politicized to focusing on popular entertainment and domesticity (Dooling 138). It was during this time that a new generation of women writers and editors emerged. The censorship of political expression opened up a unique space in public discourse where women could address issues of female identity and sexuality, political topics that had been marginalized by the Nationalist movement since the 1930s. This period saw the transformati on of the Home Journal as a literary genre evolving into widely popular women's journals (Huang 68), a discursive space wherein women writers engaged a largely female audience about the intimate details of domestic life. In her book Women, War, Domesticity Nicole Huang argues that these "discourses on domesticity became a medium in addressing war and its impact on individuals," and that the focus on domesticity should be construed "as a means of subverting the system of political control and engaging the c rucial political dialogues of the time" (35 36). Zhang Ailing, one of the most prominent writers of the period, reflect ed this concept in an essay : "What we did not have to pay attention to we managed to ignore. As we passed through life and death situatio ns, navigating the most colorful experiences imaginable, we remained ourselves, untouched, maintaining our everyday modes of life" ( Written 41). In
! %) this light, the domestic discourse can be seen as one of determined survival and the individual self prevail ing in defiance of the trauma and chaos of wartime. The domestic sphere is typically considered a private space, but the discourse of domesticity during the Japanese occupation was one that "penetrated the entire cultural realm," and women writers engagin g this discourse "depicted the formation and stabilization of the urban family, and the negotiation of gender relations within the domestic space, as well a shifting boundaries between the private and the public" (Huang 38). One of the most controversial s ocial issues of the occupation period was cohabitation and the rise of alternative family structures. Popular media during this time typically legitimized and even glorified the practice of cohabitation, and depicted it in great detail along with divorce a nd other forms of domestic restructuring (Huang 175). While it is probable that media's portrayal of cohabitation was more exaggerated than what occurred in practice, great attention was given to the breakdown of traditional family structures within public discourse. Changing family structures were by no means the only cause for unease in occupied Shanghai. The occupation is considered to be "the darkest period in the collective memory" of the city, replete with "hunger, death, scarcity, blockades, air rai ds, social unrest, personal tragedies, and political suppression" (Huang 1). Huang identifies "a woman surviving the turbulence of her time" as the defining theme of the dominant print culture (5). This turbulence is reflected in one of Zhang Ailing's popu lar essays "Writing of One's Own": "People sense that everything about their everyday lives is a little out of order, out of order to a terrifying degree. All of us must live within a certain historical era, but this era sinks away from us like a shadow, a nd we feel we have been
! %* abandoned" ( Writ t en 17). The mood is one of urgency and instability, the anxieties of urban life amplified by the unpredictability of wartime. Zhang Ailing (1920 1995): A Beauty in a Turbulent Time Zhang Ailing achieved fame and s uccess in her early 20s, and though her local acclaim ended along with the Japanese occupation, her writing has gone through several waves of popularity in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mainland China after Mao Zedong's death in 1976 (J. Zhang n. pag. ) S he has b ecome a legendary and enigmatic figure, sometimes called the "Chinese Greta Garbo" (Huang 212) for her similarity to the actress in terms of youthful celebrity as well a s her mysterious and reclusive later life. In his History of Modern Chinese Fiction C. T. Hsia not only called her "the best and most important writer in Chinese today," but also asserted "her short stories alone invite valid comparisons with, and in some respects claim superiority over, the work of serious modern women writers in English" (Hsia 389). Though this book is now over 50 years old, modern critics and popular audiences maintain a fascination with Zhang's writing, her enigmatic personhood, and her life, wrought with trauma in both her own personal life and the broader environment. Zhang was born in Shanghai on September 30, 1920, amidst the cultural upheaval of the May Fourth Movement and the onslaught of the West. She must have felt keenly the clash between tradition and modernity H er father was a member of the declining aristocr acy, with all of its vices and decadence, while her mother was Westernized and independent. Her father's family had ties to the Qing imperial court (Hsia 390), and he lived on their declining fortune, immersed in the opulent vices of his class: gambling, o pium, brothels, and concubines (J. Zhang n. pag. ). Her mother, Huang Yifan, was
! %+ "daring and independent in the New Woman mode" (Kingsbury x); she read Western literature, had unbound feet, and traveled to Europe to study art and painting when her daughter was only four years old, leaving Zhang and her brother in the care of her father and his concubine. Zhang's home life was marred by her father's abusive behavior, beating his wife and other members of the family (Kingsbury x). When Zhang was eight, her fat her overdosed on morphine and almost died ( Zhang, Written 153 ). It was at this time that Huang returned from Europe; Zhang's father "bitterly repented of his past mistakes and was sent to the hospital," while the rest of the family moved to a Western style villa. Under the care of her mother, Zhang enjoyed the comforts of a Western lifestyle for the first time ( Zhang, Written 154). Zhang's parents attempted to repair their marriage for a short time; her father got rid of his concubine and stopped smoking op ium, and Zhang lived together with both parents in a united family for a while. However, after his recovery, her father soon sunk once more into his opulent habits and abusive behavior. He began to withhold living expenses from Zhang's mother, forcing her to spend all of her own money in the hopes that she would then be penniless and unable to leave him. They fought fiercely, and eventually divorced; shortly after, Huang left again for France (Zhang, Written 155). Zhang and her young brother were again left in the care of her father (Hsia 391). The divorce cleaved young Zhang's world into halves, "bright and dark, good and evil, god and the devil" (Zhang Written 156). On one side was her mother's (now her aunt's) house, a bright home of pastel colors and m odern conveniences such as a built in bathtub and a gas stove, which Zhang said contained "all the best things I knew" (Zhang Written 156). On the other side, her father's house: characterized by opium, classical
! %, fiction, and languorous ashen, and dust laden living" (Zhang Written 156). Although Zhang classified the two halves as opposing extremes, she admits to liking things about both: "Whatever belonged to my father's side was bad, even if I sometimes liked it. I liked the sunlight filtering through clouds of opium smoke, hovering like a fog over an untidy room strewn with stacks of tabloids" (Zhang Written 156). Zhang's education was also a mixture of Western and Chinese influences. Growing up in her father's household, Zhang "witnessed a dissipate d style of life among remnants of the Qing who were nostalgic for the imperial days and could find no place in the new Republic" (J. Zhang n. pag.) She received a Classical education under a private teacher in "the traditional model of home schooling in t he Chinese classics" (Zhang Written 152), memorizing Tang dynasty poems (Zhang Written 151) and reading famous works such as Cao Xueqin's Dream of the Red Chamber ( Honglou meng ) the influences of which can be seen in her eloquent writing style and the n umerous allusions to classical literature found in her works. She immersed herself in writing and drawing. Although Zhang's mother was emotionally distant, she exposed Zhang to Western influences; Zhang learned English and piano, and took oil painting clas ses (Chen 4). Zhang began writing and publishing her work from a very young age. She wrote her first story at the age of seven, a family drama (J. Zhang), and also wrote her own version of the classic Honglou meng using the Butterfly fiction mode and w ith a drastically altered modern ending She was first published at the age of nine, a cartoon in an English language magazine, and spent her earnings on a tube of lipstick (J. Zhang n. pag. ).
! &! Enrolled by her mother at St. Mary's Hall Girl's School an Epi scopalian missiona ry boarding school in Shanghai, Zhang was given the Chinese transcription of her English name, Eileen: Ailing. While at school, she continued writing, contributing short stories and essays to the school journal. Her father was impressed b y her writing and encouraged her to study poetry. It was during this time at school that her father remarried; Zhang's new stepmother was an opium smoker from an official scholar family (J. Zhang n. pag. ). On her infrequent visits home from school, Zhang o bserved the "tortures" and "injustice" suffered by her brother and her nursemaid in her father's home, but maintained an air of polite distance. All the while, her head was full of ambitious plans and dreams of an elegant life as a world traveler; she hope d to study in England after high school. In 1937, the year of Zhang's graduation, her dream of studying abroad unwittingly catalyzed a traumatic event with deeply Gothic themes that would be reflected in her later writing, such as confinement, decadence, illness, and psychological disturbance. When Huang Yifan returned from Europe Zhang's father noticed a cooling in his daughter's affection towards him and a preference for her mother, something that represented to him "an unbearable slight" (Zhang Writte n 157). This was compounded when Zhang issued a "halting, altogether inept speech" ab out her desire to study abroad, which her father angrily interpreted a s her mother's influence (157). After an argument weeks later with her stepmother that turned physica l, Zhang was beaten brutally by her father and locked in an empty room while her father threat ened to kill her. During her confinement, she contracted dysentery. Her father refused to let her see a doctor, and for six months she lay sick in bed in a hazy existence:
! &$ "staring at the light blue autumn skies and the stony gray deer antlers protruding from the gatehouse across the courtyardI could not tell in whose age or in which dynasty I was living" (Zhang Written 160). Once she began to regain health, she plotted her escape. She snuck out of her father's house in a bitterly cold winter night and fled to her mother. At her mother's house, Zhang immersed herself in studying for the entrance exams to the University of London. She was accepted, but the German bombing of London made travel to Europe impossible. Instead, she enrolled at University of Hong Kong in 1939 as an English major. Her studies were then cut short by the Japanese attacks on Hong Kong concurrent with the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the univ ersity was closed in 1942 before she could finish her degree (Kingsbury xi). Out of town students such as Zhang were left homeless when the dorms were closed; having no other choice, she and a large group of fellow students joined the Air Raid Precaution c orps as a means of attaining room and board. During the 18 days of siege in the battle of Hong Kong, Zhang lived in a world of "emptiness and despair," knowing that a bomb could fall at any moment and end her life (Zhang Written 45). After a ceasefire was established, the university was converted to a makeshift hospital, where Zhang worked for a while as a nurse along with her fellow students. Zhang then returned to Japanese occupied Shanghai to live with her mother, where she began working as a freelance writer. 1943 was a magical year for her; in just six months, she published five short stories: Aloeswood Incense: The First Brazier, Aloeswood Incense: The Second Brazier, Jasmine Tea, Love in a Fallen City, and The Golden Cangue (Yang 14). It w as from 1943 1945 that Zhang experienced her peak creative output, becoming a sensation in the occupied literary circle and rising to
! &% stardom as one of the most popular and well known writers in Shanghai, esteemed both for her writing and her sophisticated public persona. In 1944 she married Hu Lancheng, who worked as deputy minister of the Propaganda Department of Shanghai under the Japanese puppet government of the Occupation (J. Zhang n pag.) Zhang's marriage to Hu was unfortunate; not only was he invo lved in multiple extramarital affairs, he also fled Shanghai after the war, going into hiding with two other women and taking all of Zhang's savings. The couple divorced in 1947, but Zhang's relationship with Hu had already damaged her career, embroiling h er in the controversy of the backlash against collaborators with the Japanese government that ensued after the war was over. The damage was compounded by Zhang's associations with several literary journals that had been backed by the Japanese government du ring the Occupation (J. Zhang n pag. ). Many of the literary journals that had published Zhang's writing folded after the war, and others shunned her for her collaborationist image. She began writing movie scripts, and tried to start writing in the new soci alist mode advocated by the recently founded People's Republic of China. However, it became clear that Zhang's career could not continue in the nationalist post war environment, and in 1952 she moved to Hong Kong. Zhang would continue to write, but her pea k had ended along with the Occupation and the glory days of Shanghai cosmopolitanism. With this overview, it is clear that there is a socio historical impetus behind Gothic narratives, and that Zhang began writing in a time of numerous cultural shifts an d anxieties that parallel those in which canon Gothic works were produced. China was undergoing an Enlightenment style intellectual reform of science over tradition and was also industrializing and modernizing; urban modernity in Shanghai inspired feeling s of
! && isolation, alienation, and dislocation that echoed similar sentiments in industrializing London. The sense of tension and upheaval was probably even more extreme in Shanghai, as these events were occurring simultaneously and in addition to the intrusi ons of multiple foreign powers Changing family values and gender roles created a sense of so cial instability, and the self O thering of the push for total Westernization caused a loss of identity and cultural frames of reference. The clash of tradition and modernity deeply impacted Zhang's own life, which was fairly turbulent in its own right and manifested Gothic themes of family conflict, confinement, illness, anxiety, and escape. Having established that Zhang's time period gave rise to the anxieties and tensions that produce Gothic narratives, in the next chapter I will survey some of the many Gothic elements in Zhang's stories. In particular, I will focus on how these elements might manifest the social and political environment of Shanghai.
! &' Chapter Two Gothic Domesticity in Chuanqi: A House Marked by History This chapter provides an overview of some of the Gothic elements in Zhang Ailing's Chuanqi a collection of short stories that was published in 1944. 4 In particular, I foc us on domesticity and gender relations (in the form of romantic relationships), both of which are central recurring themes in Zhang's writing and in many Gothic narratives. In Zhang's stories, the tensions and anxieties felt by the characters are manifest e d in the domestic elements. Family members are often portrayed as threatening and malicious, such as Nie Chuanqing's abusive father in Jasmine Tea and Liusu's abusive first husband in Love in a Fallen City. The family home itself is often dark and opp ressive, such as the decaying and smoke ridden opulence of the Nie mansion and the sense of stagnation and being trapped in the past felt by Liusu within the Bai family home. Within Zhang's world, furniture, clothing, and even one's own body can inspire a sense of anxiety or uncanny, and these Gothic elements can be linked to the cultural shifts and anx ieties of modernizing Shanghai. The three stories that I will discuss in this chapter are Jasmine Tea, Love in a Fallen City, and Red Rose, White Rose. Jasmine Tea is the story of Nie Chuanqing, a Shanghai boy living in his father's opulent Hong Kong mansion, as he struggles with family identity and hatred for his father. Chuanqing develops an obsession with his !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Chuanqi derives its na me from chuanqi a literary form popular in the Tang and Song dynasties that involved mystical, fantastical, and supernatural elements. The term chuanqi later acquired the more modern meaning of love stories' when it was "applied to translations of Wester n medieval literature of romance" (J. Zhang n. pag. ).
! &( literature professor that leads to the decline of his mental state until he explodes in a fit of rage, violently attacking the professor's daughter and leaving her for dead. Love in a Fallen City is the story of Bai Liusu, a divorcee who must seduce Fan Liuyuan, a wealthy overseas Chinese ma n, into marriage in order to escape the suffocating environment of her family home in Shanghai. Eventually resigned to becoming his mistress, the story ends in marriage after all when the chaotic bombing of Hong Kong delays Liuyuan's return to Europe and c auses a change of heart for both characters. Red Rose, White Rose is the ironically narrated account of Zhenbao, an "ideal modern Chinese man" whose ambition and control issues conflict with his sexual desires. Zhenbao's tendency to categorize and ration alize the people around him to fit with his own patriarchal paradigm of the world leads him to pass over the sexual and outspoken women whom he really loves and desires, instead marrying a virtuous' woman whom he grows to detest. The narrative details his mental anguish and disgust as the false images that he has woven gradually unravel. Home as Nation: a Framework for politicizing Gothic Domesticity Before delving into Chuanqi I wish to explicate the connection between the private sphere, the public s phere, and the activation of the Gothic mode. Gothic domesticity in Zhang's novels echoes the Gothic domesticity of the European Gothic canon. In the historical context of the canon, the rise of the middle class and the emergent domestic sphere caused wome n's lives to become increasingly confined to and centered around the home. More and more, male and female roles became differentiated as women became associated with the private sphere and men with the public, changing the power dynamics of male female re lationships. Gothic novels increasingly centered
! &) around the unc anny within the domestic sphere: as the most homely' place of all, the home also has the greatest capacity to manifest the unhomely.' While 1940s Shanghai also saw shifts in women's roles an d the domestic sphere, as was discussed in chapter one, this was just one aspect of a plethora of concurrent cultural shifts taking place within a span of some 60 odd years. If, as I have argued, Zhang's Gothic is rooted in the s ocio historical context of 1940 s Shanghai, then the Gothic domesticity in her narratives should be able to reveal the national and political crises that arose in response to Western imperialism and Chinese modernity. The manifestation of the public sphere in the domestic space can b e understood by looking at Julie Hakim Azzam's theory of Postcolonial Gothic. Azzam argues that Postcolonial Gothic employs the narrative mode of the European Gothic in the construction of national family romances in an attempt to "solve the lingering hist orical and political problems of colonialism" (Azzam 2). Azzam references Homi Bhabha 's argument that the unhomely in world literature arises from the collapse bet ween public and private spheres: "in that collapse, the banal events of everyday, private lif e take on political significance (Azzam 19). Playing on the Gothic obsession with home as both a concept (family and kinship) and a dwelling, encapsulated in the recurring motif of the castle or haunted house, the Postcolonial Gothic "doubles the signific ation of home to function as both a cipher for the private sphere and an allegory for a nation as "home country"" (Azzam 4). Because the unhomely emerges from the domestic space in which the collapse occurs, it is linked to the figure of the wom an (Azzam 1 8 19). Thus, stories such as those in Chuanqi which are centered around the domestic space, romantic and family plots, and women's private
! &* lives, are representative of much larger political and social issues affecting the entire nation. This belies the We stern dualistic construction of men's stories as universal and women's stories as particular; in the space of the Gothic national allegory, the personal truly becomes political, as the intimate details of private life manifest national conflicts and crises Zhang's society was not postcolonial, but in lieu of a more developed and explicit theory of Asian Gothic as a response to the cultural fragmentation resulting from the intrusion of Western modernity, Azzam's reading of Postcolonial Gothic is a suitable substitute, fitting neatly within the context of 1940s Shanghai. While the Western presence brought both racial and class hierarchies and the metropolitan culture that sparked Chinese modernism and its resulting national identity crises, the Western hegem ons were focused on economic gains and were not concerned with Chinese cultural production. Unlike full fledged colonies such as India, China at all times maintained linguistic integrity, and the extraterritoriality of government in Shanghai's foreign sett lements afforded protection from Chinese government censorship in the literary and cultural arenas (Shih 34). Thus, Shanghai was plagued by the more subconscious and insidious effects of colonialism that one would find in a postcolonial country, and Shangh ai intellectuals also had the same freedom from censorship by colonial masters that would necessarily be characteristic of postcolonial fiction. Azzam argues that the Postcolonial Gothic has four aims; the first is to form "a di stopic representation that emerges when the idealist project of the national allegorical romance fails" (33). Second, the Postcolonial Gothic "is interested in the representation of the unheimlich nature of home as both dwelling and nation" (35). Third, Postcolonial
! &+ Gothic counterac ts colonialism's erasure or unawareness of the past through a G othic historical sensibility, "investing intimate relations and private structures of relation and kinship (marriage and family life) with a deep historical and political sensibility" (36). Fou rth, postcolonial gothic deploys the gothic as a mode of frightening itself with images of transgressive women who threaten to expose the dark underbelly of their own hi storical and political contexts" (37). The Golden Cangue considered by most critic s to be Zhang's masterpiece, is a good example for the illustration of this concept. This novella is set in Shanghai in the early 1900s, when the city was a bit less developed and more steeped in tradition. The protagonist, Cao Qiqiao, is sold to an upper class family to be the wife of their crippled second son. Her caustic tongue and lowly origins lead her to be disrespected and somewhat ostracized within her husband's family, and her greed, isolation, and hatred of her husband slowly warp and twist her ps yche, until she becomes the most villainous of all of Zhang's characters. Qiqiao is a transgressive and monstrous figure whose slow decline illustrates the way that the opulent stagnation of traditional culture constrained and degraded the individual. Qiqi ao terrorizes her family, enacting the pain she experienced as a young woman in her husband's home on those same family members in later life and on her own children, destroying her daughter's marriage prospects and driving her daughter in law to suicide. The home and family relationships are invested with a sense of past ness and repetition, tainted both by Chinese tradition and a cyclical re enactment of Qiqiao's own family history. Azzam argues that G othic elements arise from the realization of the fai lure of the national or political project in question (Azzam 4 5). China's main national project' in
! &, the first half of the 1900s was the modernist enlightenment project, whose goal was to eradicate Chinese tradition and all of its vestiges, replacing it with Western modernity in the service of strengthening the Chinese nation. Zhang's narratives suggest that the failure of this project lies in the inability to erase the past and free the Chinese self. The past persisted into the modern urban present in th e form of traditional family structures and in the vestigial opulence of the declining Qing aristocracy. In stories like Jasmine Tea and Love in a Fallen City home is representative of both dwelling and nation,' and the persistence of the past is man ifested in the sense of past ness and lethargy that haunts the domestic sphere and restricts its inhabitants, which is what Azzam calls gothic historical sensibility.' Gendered Gothic Plot and the Structure of Society The Gothic concerns the duality of male/female, and the subjective positioning of the self within the Gothic plot as either male or female affe cts the way that that self experience s the tensions within the patriarcha l system and the threat of the O ther. This subjective positioning explains the difference between male Gothic plots and female Gothic plots. In the male plot, the male subject experiences horror in response to the threat posed by the mother/O ther to the patriarchal order. Anne Williams argues that the male Gothic is a "dark mirr or reflecting patriarchy's night mre, recalling a perilous, violent, and early separation from the mother/ mater denigrated as female' (107). The supernatural (m)other poses a threat to the existence of the patriarchal order and the male self, but is also often the object of fascination and desire. However, the unexplained/unresolved nature of the Other in male Gothic is the result of the inability of the male gaze to truly "see anything genuinely other; in order to be seen,' the other must
! '! be interpreted as relevant to the male reality'" (Williams 108 109). Williams argues that this understanding of the male subjectivity and gaze is one explanation for why the "female archetypes in the male imagination crone and fairy princess alike are all relative to h im (109). Thus, the male Gothic is predicated on perception of the Other as a truly threatening and horrifying force, returned from the murky depths of a civilization's past (or the individual's infancy) to threaten the very foundations of culture and soc iety. Conversely, the female Gothic "creates a Looking Glass World where ancient assumptions about the male' and the female,' the Line of Good' and the Line of Evil,' are suspended or so transformed as to reveal an entirely different world, exposing the perils lurking in the father's corridors of power" (Williams 107). The Gothic is activated to reveal the horrors inherent in the patriarchal system, which threatens to usurp the heroine's agency, tarnishing her purity or even ending her life. While the presence of some supernatural Other is often suggested, the unheimlich often exists primarily in the heroine's psychological space as she navigates through the treacherous waters of a system poised against her. This explains why the supernatural or strang e in female plots is often rationalized or explained in the end (Byron and Punter 279); the heroine herself is aligned with the Other by nature of her femaleness, and the real threat is that of the repressive and controlling patriarchal system. This is ref lected in the female plot of entrapment and escape within a house or castle, as the structure of the house is representative of the patriarchal structure of society. Elements of both the male and female Gothic plots appear in Chuanqi In addition to Aloes wood Incense which I will examine in depth in chapter three, the female plot of entrapment and escape features in both Love in a Fallen City and Jasmine Tea I
! '$ argue that the plot of Love in a Fallen City symbolizes the modern Chinese woman's strug gle for emancipation from feudalistic traditional family structures, and the plot of Jasmine Tea represents the feminization of the colonized male and his entrapment within the degenerating traditional Chinese model of masculinity. In Love in a Fallen C ity the protagonist Liusu feels trapped within her suffocating and archaic family home, and is seemingly doomed to be returned to her dead, abusive ex husband's family to act as his widow. The plot of the story is her struggle to escape her family and th e restrictions of the traditional family structure, thro ugh marriage to a rich overseas Chinese man named Fan Liuy u an. In the traditional female Gothic plot, the heroine also often escapes through marriage; however, that marriage typically comes about af ter many trials and threats to the heroine's virtue, and it is through the rigid adherence to morality that she is able to escape unscathed and attain happiness. Liusu's story runs a different course; in her romance with Liuy u an, she is seeking a marriage proposal, but Liuy u an seems to only want to keep her in Hong Kong as a mistress. After a long and coy flirtation, in which Liuy u an manages to ruin Liusu's reputation by public suggestions of intimacy such as going on long walks alone at night together or h aving adjacent hotel rooms, Liusu gives in and decides to become Liuy u an's mistress, rather than return to living with her spiteful and unloving family. Although she assents to live in sin, Liusu is one of the few characters in Chuanqi to have a happy endi ng; the bombing of Hong Kong throws the whole world upside down, changing the priorities of both characters: "Now all she had was him; all he had was her" (Z hang Fallen City 161).
! '% Liusu and Liuy u an get married, an event that is seemingly only possible be cause of the catastrophic events occurring around them. Liusu's adherence to traditional morality would have doomed her to a life of suffocation and unhappiness; her deviation from morality was also leading her down an uncertain and unsecure path. Unlike t he traditional female Gothic plot with its undertones of piety and virtue, the plot of Love in a Fallen City seems to suggest that no matter whether a woman acts morally or immorally, she is constrained by her own lack of independence within a repressive society. Liusu's struggle to escape from her family and to achieve freedom through a second marriage mirrors the ideological privileging of romantic love as the symbol of freedom and individuality in May Fourth ideology, as "freedom to love" "became the reigning slogan which was almost coterminous with women's liberation" (Lee, Intellectual History 169). The difficulty Liusu experiences in achieving her goal reflects the limitations inherent in the romantic credo of women's liberation; in truth, women's e mancipation was limited by the lack of resources available to them within a still patriarchal and oppressive society. As a bourgeois woman, there is no acceptable occupation available to Liusu for her to support herself financially. When she divorces her a busive ex husband, she must return to live with her own family. In order to escape them, she must marry again, or be sucked into a world of debauchery by becoming Liuyuan's mistress. Liusu gets her happy ending only when the entire st ructure of society is destroyed in the bombing of Hong Kong. Jasmine Tea mixes aspects of the female Gothic plot, entrapment and the ghost of a dead mother with aspects of male Gothic, namely obsession with family identity and
! '& the "hero/villain" being "revealed as a beast" ( Williams 241) Because the protagonist, Nie Chuanqing, is a young man Z hang's deployment of both male and female Gothic in Jasmine Tea highlights the gendered dynamics of colonialism. Chuanqing lives with his father and stepmother in Hong Kong, in a dim ly lit opulent, yet decrepit mansion full of opium smoke. The story deals with Chuanqing's hatred of his abusive father and obsession with his dead mother, which results in an identity crisis. His own similarity to his father fills him with self loathing, because he feels that if his father were different, he would be different. He learns that one of his professors has the same name as his mother's first love, Yan Ziye, and begins to ruminate on the past. He sees his mother's ghost in the living room, but it also seems to be himself: Just as in a dream, that person waiting by the window was at first himself, and then in an instant he could see, very clearly, that it was his motherHer eyes and eyebrows, so clouded and dim, were like black shadows in moonli ghtThe figure in the window was growing clearer now, and he could see the bats in the autumn colored silk of her jacket. She was waiting for someone, waiting for news. She knew that the news wouldn't come. In her heart the sky was slowly darkening Chuanqi ng flinched in pain. He couldn't tell whether it really was his mother, or himself. (89) Chuanqing's vision is a manifestation of his internal anguish, the feeling that he will neve r be able to escape his father (Z hang Fallen City 92). He seems to be repe ating the past, trapped in the oppressive house of his father just as his mother was trapped in an oppressive and loveless marriage with his father.
! '' Afte r this vision, Chuanqing starts on a downward spiral of mental agitation, becoming obsessed with the i dea that Yan Ziye could have been his father. He also develops a strong jealousy and loathing towards Yan Ziye's daughter, Danzhu, who has the life that he wishes was his. Chuanqing is trapped both within his abusive home and within his own body, loathsome ly similar to that of his father: "He had ways of avoiding his father, but he couldn't get away not even by an inch from this other self that wa s there, stuck inside of him" (Z hang Fallen City 96). As Chuanqing becomes more and more obsessed and neurotic, he begins doing poorly in school, and eventually Yan Ziye harshly criticizes him in class an event that throws him into turmoil. That evening, Chuanqing's father forces him to go to the school dance, although he only lurks outside until Danzhu comes out with some friends and asks him to walk her home. He wonders if he might be in love with Danzhu, and asks her about how she feels, but becomes enraged when she says that she just thinks of him as a friend, saying "you take me for a girl. Youyoudon' t even take me for a person!" (Z hang Fallen City 105). Chuanqing strikes out at Danzhu, telling her that he wishes she were dead because "If there's you, there's no me. And if there's me, there's no you. Get it?" (Z hang Fallen City 106). His meaning is clear: her existence as Yan Ziye's daughter precludes his existence as Yan Ziye's son. She exists because his mother did not marry Yan Ziye. Chuanqing physically attacks Danzhu, jamming her head down and pushing her to the ground, kicking her fiercely, wanting he r death. Chuanqing leaves Danzhu limp on the ground, running home to cry in his bed. The story ends with this horrific conclusion: "Danzhu was not dead. In a few days, when classes started again, he would still have to see her a t school. He couldn't escape (Z hang Fallen City 108).
! '( The female plot in Jasmine Tea must be understood in the context of its Hong Kong setting. Hong Kong was a British colony, and the Nie family, transplanted from Shanghai, is part of the declining Qing aristocracy. Thus, the C huanqing's struggles within the oppressive atmosphere of his home and the social space of his university can be understood as the struggle of the colonized man within both the repressive and degenerative space of Chinese tradition (represented in Nie mansi on) and the colonial space of Hong Kong. The use of female Gothic plot represents the feminization of the colonized man; Chuanqing, who is al so said to have "a feminine kind of beauty" (Z hang Fallen City 79), is a male protagonist who is thrust into the r estrictive structure of a patriarchal home in a female Gothic plot. Chuanqing struggles within that space, feeling marginalized and emasculated by his relationships to the people around him. In an activation of male Gothic, his psychological degeneration s lowly morphs him into a monstrous and transgressive figure, culminating in his aggressively violent attack on Danzhu. This reflects Shih's analysis of how "anxiety neurosis as a psychological condition resulting from sexual frustration parallels the condit ion of the colonized man who occupies a feminine role because of colonial domination" (Shih 137 138). This idea will be elaborated on later in the chapter in the section on Gothic emotion. Chuanqing's feminization is emphasized by his confusion about wheth er the ghost is himself or his mother, thus positioning himself in parallel to the female Other. Chuanqing's anger erupts into violence when he feels that Danzhu does not think of him as male (or perhaps thinks of him as neutered), enraged that she thinks she is safe with him to walk her home from the dance : "if it had been someone else you wouldn't have felt so safe? You think that I'm not going to kiss you, or beat you, or murder you, is that
! ') it? I s that it?" ( Z hang Fallen City 107). This can be seen as his way of trying to define himself as a man using the stereotypically male qualities of violence and aggression, violently separating himself from his perceived affinity with his mother/the female. The Haunted House : Marked by History In their use of fe male Gothic plots, both Love in a Fallen City and Jasmine Tea emphasize the space of the home, which is representative of the patriarchal structure of society. Gothic plots involve barriers and enclosure, whether the focus is on penetration of or escap e from them, and as such it is unsurprising that a central motif of the Gothic is the castle or house. The walls of the house are barriers between inside and outside, public and private; houses provide enclosed spaces that can shelter or entrap. The house is a both a site of secrets and mysteries and a site of domesticity, "where ordinary life carries on even while accompanied by the most extraordinary and inexplicable of events" (Punter and Byron 261). Gothic structures are often marked by a sense of past ness, symbolic of the families who inhabits them and haunted by their history. Because the family is an "idealized model," the structure of which varies between cultures, the house also represents society, reflecting basic cultural structures and the distr ibution of power within society (Williams 44). I n Love in a Fallen City the Bai family home is described as "a fairyland where a single day, creeping slowly by, was a thousand years in the outside world. But if you spent a thousand years here, all the days would be the same, each one as flat and dull as the last one" (Z hang Fallen City 121). Accordingly, the clock in the drawing room has been broken for years. This is reflective both of the Bai family's old fashioned adherence to traditional Chinese cu stoms, and to the suffocating and oppressive family relationships
! '* in which Liusu is trapped. Liusu's relationship to her family is also reflected in the imagery of two decorative scrolls inscribed with verses, hanging in the same room; "in the dim light, e ach word seemed to float in emptiness, far from the paper's surface. Liusu felt like one of those wor ds, drifting and unconnected" (Z hang Fallen City 120). This reflects Liusu's sense of isolation and lack of real connection with her family. The temporal dislocation of the house is the result of the backwards and old fashioned mindset of the family. While the clocks of Shanghai are set ahead for daylight savings, "the Bai family said: "We go by the old clock." Ten o'clock to them was eleven to everyone els e. Their singing was behind the beat; they couldn't keep up with the huqin of life" (Z hang Fallen City 111). Although the house is located in Shanghai, the locus of Chinese modernity, the Bai family willfully clings to traditional Chinese culture. The Got hic past ness' that inhabits the house creates a sense of distance and unease, reflecting the "persistence of anachronistic traditional household situations within the urban environment" despite modernists' efforts to erase tradition (Shih 381). The hous ehold is portrayed as a space of collapse and decay, reminiscent of the "cyclical, dynastic mode of traditional time" which May Fourth intellectuals rejected as "repetitive and stagnant" (Shih 50): Time grinds on, year after year, and the eyes grow dull, t he minds grow dull, and then another round of children is born. The older ones are sucked into that obscure haze of crimson and gold, and the tiny flecks of glinting gold are the frightened eyes of their predecessors. (121) This horrific portrayal of the f amily environment reflects scholar Zhu Guangqian's adaptation of Freudian psychoanalysis to fit with May Fourth enlightenment teleology.
! '+ Zhu argued that autocratic societies such as Imperial China "place individual lives under great external pressure, forc ing them to obey social norms," and repressing individuality (Shih 65). These numerous repressions weigh down the individual unconscious, stunting the natural growth and development of the individual's intellect and morality (Shih 65). The oppressively rep etitive nature of existence in the Bai household, stemming from the autocratic organization of traditional Confucian society, seems to have that same effect on its children, dulling their perceptions and intellects. Each new round of children is ground upo n in this same manner until they conform in a horrific process of repetition and degradation, alluded to by the frightened eyes of their predecessors.' Through the imagery used to describe the Bai household, Zhang reveals the persistence of traditional Ch ina in the modern era as a black hole of stagnation and backwardness, blocking the natural growth and development of the Chinese individual. Conversely, the house that Liuyuan rents for Liusu in Hong Kong reflects her new sense of freedom and independence. It is full of "empty rooms, one af ter another pure empty space" (Z hang Fallen City 157). This emptiness is a welcome relief to Liusu, who "from her earliest youth," had "lived in an overcrowded world. Pushing, squeezing, trampling, hugging, hauling, old people, young people, people everywhere" (157). This empty house is all her own, and its emptiness and whiteness parallel her own break from family and tradition; she has chosen to be a mistress, to forsake family connection and a family home. She is start ing out on a new path, completely different from her previous life, for which she has no map yet. Her house is as empty as her life is now unburdened; it is a bright new freedom.
! ', Similar to the Bai household, the Nie mansion in Jasmine Tea reflects the family dynamics and general character of its occupants. It is an oppressive and smoke filled place; although it is a big mansion, it has fallen into disarray, just as the Nie's are members of the traditional aristocracy in decline. The mansion is a place w here nothing can grow: "all the flowers and trees that had once filled the yard had wilted, died, or been cut down, and now the sun beat down on a desolate scene" ( Zhang, Fallen City 84). As all of the plants have wilted and died from neglect, so too does Chuanqing suffer from lack of love and nurturing, his psyche wilting and twisting, characterized by his father as "three parts human, seven parts ghost" (86). The inside of the house is similarly grim, the hallway "heavy with darkness" (84), and Chuanqing' s bedroom is clouded with opium smoke (87), reflecting his dark and muddled psychological state. He "lived in this air, had grown up in this air" (87); his life is permeated with opium smoke, the corrosive indulgence of the decaying aristocracy and the sym bol of England's colonial exploitation of China as the catalyst for the Opium Wa rs. Love Pathologized: p sychological disturbance and Gothic emotion Central to Gothic narratives are psychological tensions and feelings of anxiety and terror. Anxiety arises when boundaries are unstable or threatened, and terror is defined by Anne Williams as "our experience of a self conscious of the ultimate failure of the Symbolic, the point where the system breaks down when words fail,' where the idea of infinity forces the subject again to confront the literally unspeakable" (73). That "unspeakable" is the loss of self that occurs when all structure and boundaries are removed. This psychological disturbance often manifests in heightened and excessive
! (! emotion, as in the s tereotype of the overly sensitive Gothic heroine who faints and flies into a terror. Heightened emotion and psychological disturbance is paralleled in the discourse of Chinese modernity. Shih describes the psychological experience of the Chinese individua l in the modern urban space of Shanghai as overwhelming and disorienting: Capitalist modernity was the only reality to reckon with, and this reckoning became interiorized as there was no other readily available means such as tradition and its reincarnatio n as nativism with which to refute the overwhelming stimuli from its onslaught. Hence the predominance of descriptions of the psychological and physical symptoms resulting from modern stimuli in new sensationist narratives: neurasthenia, delusions, anxiety neurosis, fatigue, libidinal pathologies, and so forth. ( 376) Shih argues that these psychological symptoms are the consequence of internalizing the ideology of total Westernization advocated by May Fourth iconoclasts. Rather than coming to fruition as a social project, this May Fourth ideology manifested n the individual as "psychological disturbance and erotic excess" (Shih 376). In many of Zhang's stories, Gothic emotions and the psychological excesses of modernity converge in love and desire. This ec hoes Andrew Smith's hypothesis that the Female Gothic is predicated on the denial of love." (Smith 81) Smith argues t hat the Female Gothic pathologiz es love, and more specifically sees male love as a dangerous passion that threatens the female heroine. L ove is dangerous in part because it leads to sexual desire, and this male desire harms the heroine by placing her in "sexually threatening situatio ns (Smith 85). Smith argues that male desire also objectifies and
! ($ dehumanizes the female object of desire, a nd that love is portrayed as a pathological condition of "emotional and mental self indulgence" that "leads to a false understanding of the world and potentially to a false objecti!cation of the heroine" (Smith 85). This reading of love as a pathological condition applies well to Re d Rose, White Rose The plot follows Zhenbao in his interactions with the women in his life, contrasting his mistress Jiaorui the red rose,' and his wife Yanli the white rose.' Zhenbao is plagued by inner conflict; he is attracted to outspoken, Wester nized women, but is also driven and ambitious, with strict ideas about what is appropriate : "he liked women who were fiery and impetuous, the kind you couldn't marry" (264). He is intensely attracted to Jiaorui, his vivacious mistress, and his desire manif ests as a kind of delusional representation of her as almost supernatural, her sensuality transcending her body and projecting on the space around her. "When she was in the room, the walls seemed to be covered with figures in red chalk, pictures of he half naked, on the left, on the right, everywhere" ( Z hang Fallen City 269). Despite his attraction to Jiaorui, his obsessive desire to be in control and to impose his own sense of order on the world lead him to marry a meek, demure, and very traditionally Ch inese woman, Yanli, who he quickly comes to despise. He later encounters a happily remarried Jiaorui, now an ordinary wife and mother. Realizing that he could have married her all along, he begins a slow downward spiral into psychological breakdown, reelin g out of control until he completely loses composure at the end of the novella. Zhenbao seems to view his own desire as something that is potentially dangerous to him and must be controlled, as he takes great pride in his self restraint and his
! (% reputation as "a man who could keep perfectly calm with a beautiful woman on his lap" (262). His desires lead him to falsely objectify both Jiaorui and Yanli in archetypes that are proven to be false as the story progresses. Jiaorui, his spirited and excessive lover who appeared to him as a supernatural being, is revealed to be merely a person, capable of marriage and children and stability. In contrast, Yanli, who he married because she was the image of a perfect wife, "just the wife for someone else," is revealed to be transgressive and grotesque. Her affair with the ringworm scarred tailor, and her chronic constipation and abject bodily ness, smash the faade of a pure and chaste wife. It is when Zhenbao's paradigmatic view of the world is proved false that he has a psychological breakdown. It has just rained, and he begins smacking his umbrella down in the water. "He couldn't smash up the home he'd made, or his wife, or his daughter, but he could smash himself up, the umbrella whacking the water and the cold, rank mud flying into his facehe had to be smashed to bits! Smash him to bits!" (310). The pain that he feels is the result of his rigid self restraint and attempt to categorize everything and everyone, and this desire to smash himself to bits' reflects the de sire to break down his self imposed restrictions. In Love in a Fallen City Liusu's feelings of attraction towards Fan Liyuan parallel her heightened reactions to the city itself. Liusu's first sight of Hong Kong is reminiscent of the Shih's description of the modern urban space: It was a fiery afternoon, and the most striking part of the view was the parade of giant billboards along the dock, their reds, oranges, and pinks mirrored in the lush green water. Below the surface of the water, bars and blots of clashing color plunged in murderous confusion. Liusu found herself thinking that in a city of
! (& such hyperboles, even a sprained ankle would hurt much more than it did in other places. Her head began to pound. (131) Liusu's reaction to the city is a pret ty explicit representation of sensory overload in response to capitalist modernity. She is similarly overwhelmed shortly after when she runs into Liuyuan, causing her heart to race. Psychological disturbance is particularly pronounced in Jasmine Tea. Ch uanqing's strange combination of narcissism and self loathing seem to reflect Shih's observations of the malaise' and melancholia' experienced by the May Fourth iconoclasts as the result of their alienation from tradition: If tradition constituted the im plicit object of desire for May Fourth intellectuals (who were also scholars of the Chinese cultural tradition), then the May Fourth repudiation of tradition, due to the tradition's essential faults, results in the condition of melancholia. Projecting the object onto his ego, the melancholic expresses resentment toward the loss through forms of self aggression. As a narcissistic disorder, melancholia can be seen as the symptom of a cultural narcissism that becomes a pathological condition when it is fundame ntally challenged by the invading cultures of the West. (139) Chuanqing's unattainable "object of desire" is none but Yan Ziye, a professor of Chinese literature and thus symbolic th e traditional Confucian scholar. While Yan Ziye is not actually Chuanqing' s father, Chuanqing's actual father, being a member of the aristocracy, is representative of tradition in Chuanqing's lived reality. He sees his father manifested in his own body, a resemblance "both in looks and in manners" (96), thus
! (' projecting the obje ct' (tradition) onto his own ego, and reacting with self loathing and apathy. Chuanqing's growing resentment against Danzhu and strange infatuation for Yan Ziye lead him to brood and daydream and his heart is "racked with turmoil" ( 96, 99). His mental ang uish and eventual outburst reflect s the anger and frustration of the Chinese man contending with the subjugating force of Western colonialism. S hih argues that colonialism both "upholds the ideal of masculinity and withholds it from the colonized in order to maintain its own power and position," and that within this context "masculinity as a trope of political power and masculinity as a trope of sexual power become conflated" (137). Thus, colonial domination is instilled with sexual undertones, and the colo nized man is emasculated by his inferiorized positioning in relation to the colonizer. Danzhu's sexual rejection of Chuanqing compounds the effects of his emasculation, causing his anxieties to overwhelm and consume him, bursting outwards in a flood of ang er and violence. Nature, the Sublime, and Desolation Another common Gothic element is the motif of nature and the sublime. Edmund Burke characterizes the sublime thusly: Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain and danger, that is to sa y, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling. ( 58 59 )
! (( Burke en visioned terror as the strongest emotion that could be felt; the sublime, then, is that which evokes absolute terror. In Gothic narratives, the sublime is often associated with primitive, wild nature; the image of a vast, open sky; a raging storm, or a dar k night. Anne Williams argues that these aspects of nature which are associated with the Gothic, such as "night, the moon, the moors, storms, and all sorts of violence and disorder signify the unruly female principle" (86). The sublime inspires terror in t he hearts of those who encounter it, as they are confronte d with the vast expanse of the O ther, the power and immensity of nature belying the dualistic hierarchy of reason/nature and man/nature. Sublime nature imagery features prominently in Zhang's fict ion, especially i n her aesthetics of desolation. In the preface to Chuanqi she wrote: Our times are undergoing rapid transformation; order is already breaking down, and even greater demolition is ahead. One day our civilization will cease to exist, no mat ter whether we see this as China ascending or descending. If the word I use most often is 'desolation' [huangliang], that is because at the back of my mind looms large the threa t of such a great annihilation. ( J. Zhang n. pag.) A prime example of this sens e of desolation and the sublime manifesting in the natural world occurs at the end of "Love in a Fallen City," in the silence of the city during the days after the bombing: At night, in that dead city, no lights, no human sounds, only the strong winter win d, wailing on and on in three long tones oooh, aaah, eeei. When it stopped here, it started there, like three gray dragons flying side by side in a straight line, long bodies trailing on and onwailing until even the sky dragons had gone, and
! () there was onl y a stream of empty air, a bridge of emptiness that crossed into the dark, into the void of voids. Here, everything had ended. There were only some broken bits of leveled wall and, stumbling and fumbling about, a civilized man who had lost his memory; he s eemed to be searching for something, but there was nothing left. (164) This scene of emptiness and annihilation cut through by a stream of wind crossing into dark nothingness, is the realization of mankind's fears about the impermanence of civilization. M an's desire to achieve mastery over nature is thwarted by his own self destruction and mocked by the desolate howling of the winter wind. This howling wind occurs again i n Jasmine Tea R ight before Chuanqing's violent encounter with Danzhu, he is walkin g up the stone steps of a mountain on a cold night: A sighing wind stirred both trees and clouds, gathering them here, dispersing them there, pushing and piling them upIn the woods, the wind howled like a mad dog, but when it came across the distance from the sea, the sound was desperate and forlorn, like the cry of a lonesome hound. (99) The image of the wind is one of restlessness and foreboding, paralleling Chuanqing's own restless thoughts as he chews on the bitter memory of Yan Ziye's criticisms of hi m. The howling wind, forlornly driving over the sea, foreshadows Chuanqing's inner turmoil; after he viciously beats Danzhu, he himself runs down the hill, his body moving "like a nightmare, sailing on the clouds, riding on the mist like an immortal" (107) The use of sublime nature imagery heightens the emotion of the narrative, intensifying the horror of Chuanqing's actions and his mental state.
! (* Nature imagery is also used to heighten emotion in Love in a Fallen City In just one of many examples, Liu yuan is showing Liusu a tree called flame of the forest': In the darkness, Liusu couldn't see the red, but she knew instinctively that it was the reddest red, red beyond relief. Great masses of little red flowers, nestled in a huge tree that reached up to the sky, a riotous welter burning all the way up, staining the indigo sky with red. (138) The intensity of this imagery, the redness beyond belief,' hints at some deep seated meaning "where no meaning should be" (Williams 81). Anne Williams argues that t his kind of nature symbolism challenges the Symbolic order's rules' about "which things signify and which do not" by returning the speaking subject to the "stage of development where everything is perhaps meaningful" (82). The sense of awe inspired by the reddest red' of the tree creates the feeling of some underlying gulf of emotion, instilling everything with intensity and possible meaning; this is particularly fitting in the story of a romance which is cemented by the destruction of a city. Like many Gothic narratives, Chuanqi was written during a time of intense cultural change and upheaval, and its Gothic conventions reflect the anxiety and inner turmoil caused by the shifting cultural frames of reference. In the next chapter, I will take a closer l ook at one novella in particular, Aloeswood Incense.
! (+ Chapter Three A Hong Kong Tale From Before the War: Aloeswood Incense as Gothic N ational A llegory Aloeswood Incense is the story of Ge Weilong, a Shanghai girl living in Hong Kong with her parents. For financial reasons, her family is moving back to Shanghai, but Weilong is a student and wishes to finish her schooling. In order to do so, she moves in with her Aunt Liang, a shrewd and wealthy woman who was disowned by the Ge family many years before when she became the concubine of a wealthy Cantonese tycoon, Liang Liteng, instead of marrying the man her family chose for her. After Mr. Liang's death, Aunt Liang gained control of his wealth and the opulent mansion that they had lived in. Having chosen financial security over love and marriage as a young woman, Aunt Liang now spends her time courting Hong Kong's elite, flirting and seducing various men. She takes Weilong into her home so that she may serve as a pawn in her social maneuvering. Wei l ong's youth and beauty lure in younger men wh om the older a unt then snatches away for herself. Weilong goes into the house intending to work hard so that she can finish her last year of school. Over the course of the story, she struggles with balancing h er schoolwork and her many social obligations, but she gradually becomes addicted to her a unt's extravagant lifestyle. She falls in love with a young man of mixed Chinese and European heritage name George Qiao. He is from a wealthy family, but has many sib lings a nd is the son of a concubine, so he stands to inherit very little. He seduces Weilong into having sex with him, but does not want to marry her because she has no money. Aunt Liang convinces George to marry Weilong, who agrees to work as a prostitute luring suitors for
! (, her a unt and earning money for George ; it is implied that once she becomes too old to earn money in this manner, he will simply divorce her. Zhang said that when writing Aloeswood Incense: The First Brazier she was thinking about Sh anghai people, because she "wanted to try to observe Hong Ko ng through Shanghainese eyes" ( W ritten 55). The narrative, therefore, should be able to tell us something about the character of Shanghai through the way that Hong Kong is perceived. I argue that Aloeswood Incense can be read as a Gothic depiction of the allegorical national romance, exposing the failure of the Chinese modernist project in the face of the dualistic patriarchal structures of colonialism, orientalism, and sexism. In my analysis, I will use Julie Hakim Azzam's reading of Postcolonial Gothic fiction as an allegorical mode depicting the rifts and scars caused by a nation's colonial history. I will first examine the allegorical setting of Hong Kong as a mirror of Shanghai. Then, I will examine the female Gothic plot and the motif of the haunted house, looking to the Liang mansion as a representation of the colonial landscape of Hong Kong. Lastly, I will examine the activation of Gothic imagery and emotion throughout the story as Weilong struggles within and eventually becomes resigned to living in the strange space of Hong Kong, showing how the unheimlich manifests at first in the mansion, and then as the story progresses moves to the surrounding natural environment of Hong Kong. I argue that Weilong's experiences within her Aunt's house can be seen as analogous to the modern Chinese individual's encounter with colonialism and modernity. Weilong is entirely overwhelmed by the glamorous excesses of her Aunt and her feelings for George, eve n though he doesn't really love her and uses her for financial support, just as Chinese modernists' love and appreciation for Western culture was not reciprocated by the West
! )! whose semicolonial hold over Shanghai and colonial possession of Hong Kong was ec onomically exploitative in nature. Weilong's overwhelming emotions are manifested in illness, dizziness and other exaggerated physical sensations, similar to the sensory overload and physical manifestations of anxiety and alienation experienced by moderni st intellectuals in response to the overwhelming materialism and extravagance of cosmopolitan cities like Shanghai. Hong Kong and Shanghai : "A Tale of Two Cities" In Shanghai Modern Leo Ou fan Lee ponders the immense popularity in occupied Shanghai of Aloeswood Incense a story about colonial Hong Kong. He posits that the story is suggestive of an allegory, an effect achieved by the slightly removed and exotic setting of Hong Kong that lends the text a "defamiliarizing effect" (326). The use of frame n arrative in the story, which is set up as a narrator telling you' to listen to her tell "a Hong Kong tale, from before the war," heightens the defamiliarizing effect by creating a sense of both narrative and temporal distance (Z hang, Fallen City 7). Exoti c locales and the use of frame narrative are common elements of Gothic novels (Williams 67). In Aloeswood, Hong Kong acts as the Other against which Shanghai defines itself, a magnifying mirror whose colonial hierarchies and Orientalist culture exaggerat e and make undeniable the exploitative nature of the Western presence. Both highly cosmopolitan metropolises, Shanghai and Hong Kong have a shared history, being "linked at birth" as cessions to Britain after the Opium Wars (Abbas 773). While Shanghai wa s designated as a treaty port and developed a multilayered semicolonialism, Hong Kong was ceded as a full blown colony under British rule, acting as a base for the British trading community in East Asia. The different cultures that
! )$ developed under Western influence in each city can be traced to the differences in the colonial situations. Shanghai, informally colonized by multiple foreign powers enforcing a multiplicity of government under extraterritoriality, maintained linguistic integrity and a strong Chi nese cultural imaginary formed by Chinese writers and intellectuals. Freedom of artistic and literary expression was perhaps even enhanced by the foreign presence, as the space of the foreign concessions protected Chinese writers from censorship by the nat ionalist KMT government. While the intellectual sphere largely chose to endorse Westernization and the abandonment of traditional Chinese culture and values, this was the choice of Chinese intellectuals and was not enforced by the colonial presence. The p resence of the West as a colonial power did create tension and a sense of ambivalence in the construction of Chinese nationalism, as the "urgency of criticizing feudalism and forwarding Westernization often displaced the immediate need to confront and crit icize colonial domination" (Shih 36). This cognitive dissonance led to the bifurcation of the colonial and the metropolitan West/Japan in modernist discourse, as was addressed in chapter one, creating ambivalence towards colonialism and undermining Chinese thinkers' ability to resist and combat colonialism. I believe that this is one area in which the Chinese modernist project failed, and is one of the main themes underlying Aloeswood as an allegory for cosmopolitanism and Western colonialism. While Shan ghai's cosmopolitanism was highly developed and sophisticated, the Hong Kong of the 1940s was far less cultivated. Rather, Hong Kong was caught in "the double bind of divided loyalties," "politically ambivalent about both Britain and China; ambivalent abou t what language, English or Chinese, it should master; and confident only
! )% about capital" (Abbas 777). The Chinese population of Hong Kong tended to collaborate with the British colonial government, especially the Chinese merchants who played a "vital role" in "making Hong Kong a commercial center" and stood to reap the resulting financial benefits (Carroll "Colonial Hong Kong" 539). Many of the successful Chinese businessmen in early Hong Kong were not Hong Kong natives, but "chose to follow the British to Hong Kong, which offered lucrative opportunit ies for collaboration" (Carroll, Empires 18). This ambivalence and materialism is reflected in Lee's analysis of Chang's views on Hong Kong, namely that Hong Kong culture was "too blatant, too vulgar and flambo yant in its Western imitation, hen ce producing cultural kitsch" ( Shanghai Modern 327). Lacking Shanghai's self restraint and subtlety, as well as any sense of nationalism, Hong Kong was too eager and willing to "prostitute" itself to its colonial master, p urposely presenting itself "as the object of a Western Orientalist gaze by materializing what existed only in t he colonist's fantasies" (Lee, Shanghai Modern 327). Despite the success of Chinese businessmen, colonialism is "based on the perverse notion th at some races or nations are naturally suited indeed, chosen to rule others" (Carroll Empires 12), and Hong Kong society was marked by rigid class divisions between the native and colonial populations. Although people of mixed European and Chinese heritag e existed and in some cases rose to important positions, their presence was ignored and obscured by the colonial state that tended to "identify them as Chinese" (Pomfret 318). Eurasian children were often viewed as an "embodied threat" to European family i deals, "unwelcome referents of a bygone tolerance for concubinage" (Pomfret 321). The colonial population recognized and encouraged class hierarchies based on race among native Chinese as well.
! )& In Aloeswood Zhang gives an explicit illustration of the racial divisions in Hong Kong society through the words of Weilong's socialite acquaintance, Zhou Jijie: "Weilong, you probably don't know about mixed blood boys; even the best are a bit sullen, like slave girlsIt's true! I'm mixed blood myself and I've been through it all. These mixed blood boys are the ones we're most likely to marry. We can't marry a Chinese we've got foreign style educations, so we don't fit in with the pure Chinese types. We can't marry a foreigner, either have you seen any whites he re who aren't deeply influenced by race concepts? Even if one of them wanted to marry one of us, there'd be too much social pressure against it. Anyone who marries an Oriental loses his career. In this day and age, who would be that romantic?" (45) Given t his explicit and incisive critique of race relations under British colonialism, it is surprising that anyone would ever accuse Zhang's writing of being "trivial" and "lacking in substance," as did Shanghai critic Fu Lei (Zhang, Written 15). Jijie is telli ng Weilong about her half brother, George Qiao, explaining his sullenness and bad behavior as the result of his mixed blood status. This characterization of mixed blood boys as being like "slave girls" echoes the feminization of Nie Chuanqing in Jasmine T ea and is suggestive of colonization's emasculation of the native (although in this case, Eurasian) male. George, being Eurasian, would perhaps feel this alienation and sense of emasculation even more deeply, not being accepted in either pure' Chinese o r European circles. As Lee said, echoing the dualistic construction of the self against the Other, the city of Hong Kong as the Other' is crucial to our understanding of Shanghai as the self.'
! )' Zhang portrays Shanghai as a city of overwhelming sights a nd sensations, and overall of contrasts: clashing colors, the clash of Chinese and Western cultures, clashing time periods, and the clash between nature and culture. The Hong Kong bourgeoisie, represented by Aunt Liang and her social circle, is characteriz ed by a willingness to prostitute themselves to the colonial master. This cultural prostitution,' underscored by the more explicit prostitution of Weilong's body by her aunt, takes the somewhat contradictory forms of colonial mimicry and a performance of an Orientalized Chineseness' for the Western gaze. Colonial mimicry occurs when the colonized subjects mimic aspects of the colonizer's culture, such as language, dress, ideology, and lifestyle; it is defined by Homi Bhabha as a "reformed, recognizable O ther, as a subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite ( Mimicry 318). In the case of Hong Kong, this would take the form of the Chinese bourgeoisie speaking English and following European fashions and habits; as Aunt Liang tells Weilo ng, "here in Hong Kong we follow the English ways" (21 22). The mimicking of European culture leads to the construction of a Chinese Other' which is almost the same' as the European self, allowing the mimics to garner as much power as they can within the colonial system by aligning themselves with the colonial masters. In the process of colonial mimicry, the native subject suppresses their own native culture and identity. The colonial mimicry of the Hong Kong bourgeoisie is seemingly counteracted by the o ther kind of cultural prostitution portrayed in Aloeswood the performance of Orientalized Chineseness' for the Western gaze. Orientalism is defined by Edward Said as a way for the West to "deal with" the Orient, by "making statements about it,
! )( authoriz ing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short, Orientalism" is "a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient" (Said 3). In Hong Kong, Orientalism would thus be a fanciful (and r acist) construction of an exoticized China' and Chineseness' in the European imagination, a constructio n that would have only the shallow est basis in the reality of China and Chinese culture. An example of Orientalist racism appears when the narrator of "Aloeswood" wryly describes Weilong's face as somewhat lacking in expression, but vacuousness of that sort does impart the gentle sincerity of Old China" (9). Zhang portrays the Chinese in Hong Kong as performing this Orientalized version of Chineseness for the benefit of the Western gaze, as illustrated in the beginning of Aloeswood by a reference to Weilong's school uniform: Weilong glanced in her reflection in the glass doors she too was a touch of typically colonial Oriental color. She wore the s pecial uniform of Nanying Secondary School: a dark blue starched cotton tunic that reached to her knees, over narrow trousers, all in the late Qing style. Decking out coeds in the manner of Boxer era courtesans that was only one of the ways that the Hong K ong of the day tried to please European and American tourists. (8) Note that rather than being a touch of Chinese' color, Weilong is a touch of Oriental' color, the Orient being characterized by Otherness rather than any kind of authentic Chineseness,' a contrast to the Western self. For example, Weilong and her classmates are made to wear old fashioned clothing fr om before the fall of the Qing E mpire, in the style of courtesans no less. Zhang makes it very clear that these uniforms are one of the ways t hat Hong Kong pe rforms an Orientalized Chinese ness' for the European gaze.
! )) The ironic combination of colonial mimicry and the performance of Chinese ness' are illustrated in Zhang's description of the garden party thrown by Aunt Liang: Hong Kong society copies English custom in every respect, but goes on adding further touches until the original conception is entirely lost. Madame Liang's garden party was garishly swathed in local color. "Good luck" paper lanterns had been planted on five foot poles all around the lawn; when they were lit at dusk, they glimmered vaguely in the background a perfect prop for a Hollywood production of Secrets of the Qing Palace Beach umbrellas were stuck at various angles among the lanterns, an incongruously Western touch. (37) The combination of garish' local color, incongruous Western beach umbrellas, and paper lanterns like props from a movie set, all in the service of a mimetic reproduction of the British garden party, are a perfect representation of the "cultural kitsc h" produced by Hong Kong's "flamboyant" and "vulgar" Western imitation and eagerness to materialize the China' that exists "only in the colonists fantasies" (Lee, Shanghai Modern 327). The allusion to a Hollywood movie set emphasizes the performative natu re of the Orientalized Chineseness.' The haphazard combination of Oriental' and Western culture in the mimetic reproduction of a British garden party divorces these various representations of culture from any reality of the original culture itself, to th e point that the original conception is entirely lost.' The Oriental' touches, of course, are already once removed from their cultural source,' being hollow Orientalist caricatures of actual Chinese culture. The act of mimicking both British culture and the British Orientalist caricature of Chinese' culture means that Hong Kong is doubly Othered, performing both the British
! )* Other' to the Chinese self and the Orientalized Chinese' Other to the British colonial self. Zhang's portrayal of the garish an d flamboyant cultural performance of Hong Kong is a stark contrast to the sophistication and finesse of Shanghai cosmopolitanism. In Aloeswood the city of Hong Kong acts as a fun house mirror to the city of Shanghai. The image of Hong Kong is a distorte d and exaggerated version of the cosmopolitanism of Shanghai, turning it into a kitschy performance of cultural mimesis and highlighting the racism and exploitation inherent in the colonial presence of the West. This image of Western colonialism, an image more blatant and institutionalized than Shanghai semicolonialism, makes the reality of colonial domination undeniable, so that the Shanghainese self is forced to confront the contradictions ignored in the bifurcation of the metropolitan West and the coloni al West. Shih argues that confronting this contradiction would necessitate a nationalistic rejection of both Western colonialism and Western modernity, invalidating t he whole framework of the enlightenment project itself (232). Thus, Aloeswood Incense po rtrays the failure of the modernist enlightenment project in the face of Western colonialism. The aim of the enlightenment project was to strengthen and rebuild the Chinese nation through Westernization, but embracing Western culture without confronting We stern colonialism led the modernist project to a cultural identity crisis. The traditional Chinese self' was abandoned in favor of a Western universal self, particularizing China' as the Orientalized Other and ignoring the foreign exploitation that weake ned China's autonomy as a nation. Hong Kong's eager and willing self prostitution to the colonial master is an exaggerated version of the enlightenment movement's push for total Westernization,
! )+ which Shih terms "the locus of the willin g colonization of c onsciousness (Shih 374 ). This realization is dramatized in Weilong's words at the end of Aloeswood the last lines of dialogue in the narrative. At this point, Weilong and George are married and live together in Aunt Liang's mansion, where Weilong works as a prostitute: "it was as if Weilong had been sold to Madame Liang and George Qiao. She was busy all day long, getting money for George Qiao and people for Madame Liang" (73). Weilong and George go on an outing to the Wanchai open market on New Year's Eve. In addition to a colorful variety of wares for sale, there are numerous young girls working as prostitutes to English sailors. When a group of drunken sailors throw firecrackers at Weilong, George becomes irritated: "Those drunken mudfish," George sai d with a smile. "What do they take you for?" "But how am I any different from those girls?" Steering with one hand, George reached out with the other to cover her mouth. "Talk such nonsense again and "Yes, yes! I was wrong, I admit it," Weilong apologi zed. "How could there not be any difference between us? They don't have a choice I do it willingly!" (76) These last pitiful words elucidate the tragedy of Weilong's situation, which is that she has willingly chosen this exploitative lifestyle with no hope s for the future. The contrast between the young girls working as prostitutes who have no choice' and Weilong who does it willingly' mirrors the contrast between Hong Kong's garish cultural performance for the colonial gaze and Shanghai's willing Western ization. The young girls are even described with the same garish coloring and imagery as the rest of Hong Kong; standing
! ), in the harsh light of a gas lamp, the "intense chiaroscuro turned their noses light blue and the sides of their faces green, while the rouge that was slathered o n their cheeks looked purple" (Z hang Fallen City 75). While Hong Kong is fully colonized and Shanghai has freedom of cultural expression, Shanghai nevertheless participates in the colonization of consciousness,' and does it will ingly Home as nation: Imperial tomb Most important, this structure is marked, haunted by "history" the events of its own development. The ghosts whether real or imagined derive from the past passions, past deeds, past crimes of the family identified wi th this structure. The psychic as well as the physical space of the castle bears its marks. (Williams 45) The central motif of the Gothic is the castle or haunted house (Punter and Byron 259). Houses in Gothic narratives often "seem to distort perception, to cause some slippage between what is natural and what is human made" (Punter and Byron 259 260). For example, mansions or castles will often be noticeably antiquated and hold the air of the past, creating a sense of temporal dislocation. More blatantly, moving walls, secret passageways, and locked doors can physically manifest the feeling of shifting boundaries and barriers. The presence of ghosts or other supernatural elements create a sense of strangeness and unreality; the laws of science and reason wh ich one knows to be true are at once contradicted by the occurrence of that which should not be possible. Within the shifting confines of the house, "nothing is what it seems; even commonly accepted definitions of the human and the non human, the natural a nd the supernatural, drop away like the rotting fortifications themselves" (Punter and Byron 260). The important function of this setting is its power to evoke certain psychological responses such as fear,
! *! loneliness, claustrophobia, terror, and anxiety. T hese shifting boundaries of time, space, and reality create a feeling of une ase and uncanny, threatening both the maintenance of that order and the existence of the individual self. As was stated in the previous chapter, Postcolonial Gothic doubles the mo tif of the haunted house as representative of the private sphere of the home and allegorical for the nation, so that the interactions of the private sphere become allegorical for broader political and historical issues. This concept is echoed by another an alysis of Aloeswood by Leung Ping Kwan, who argues that the "strange and unreal world" of the Liang mansion is "the colonial space of Hong Kong," and that this colonial space is "a haunted space in which people are trapped" (87). In its own way, the dis cordant setting of the Liang mansion is as strange and unhomely as any Gothic castle. Glaring oppositions are manifest both within and without its walls, all parallels to the overarching dichotomy between tradition and modernity: East vs. West, nature vs. culture, and past vs. present. Eastern and Western culture clash and comingle in the architecture and furnishing of the mansion, manifestations of both cultural kitsch and colonial mimicry. The opening pages of Aloeswood are full of descriptions of the L iang mansion and the surrounding countryside, a colorful scene which gives the viewer "a dizzying sense of unreality" (Z hang Fallen City 8) which stem s both from the glaring color clashes in the natural environment and from the contrasts to be seen all a round in the house: "all kinds of discordant settings and jumbled periods had been jammed together, making a strange, illusory domain" (8). The house is a white hillside mansion located in a wealthy Hong Kong residential district, smooth and "geometric lik e an ultramodern
! *$ movie theater," but with a roof of traditional emerald green glazed tiles, green window panes and "chicken fat yellow frames trimmed with red" (8). The comparison to an "ultra modern movie theater" is interesting, as it implies entertainme nt and spectacle, referential to the performance of an Orientalize d Chinese ness' for the enjoyment of Westerners. The description continues: "A wide, red brick veranda circled the house, with monumental white stone columns that were nearly thirty feet tal l this went back to the American Old South" (8). It is telling that the veranda is in the style of the American Old South, reflecting a similarity between Aunt Liang and her class as the last vestiges of the Imperial aristocracy and its opulence, and the g enteel elegance of the post war American South in decline, with its plantations and racial hierarchy. The interior of the house is also a mix of Chinese and Western furnishing and decoration, although the prevailing style varies from room to room. Aunt Li ang's lavish study is "decorated entirely in the traditional Chinese style" ( Zhang, Fallen City 18 19), and has a vase full of "little rustling flowers that looked at first like white lilies," which are actually the flower buds of wild rice (19). The narra tor notes that "only someone who'd lived in southern China a long time would know that suggesting an underlying authentic knowledge that emphasizes the purposeful and calculated nature of the mansion's Oriental' display of cultural kitsch in other parts of the house, such as the living room (19): The furniture and the arrangement were basically Western, touched up with some unexceptionable Chinese bric a brac. An ivory bodhisattva stood on the mantel of the fireplace, along with snuff bottles made of eme rald green jade; a small screen
! *% with a bamboo motif curved around the sofa. These Oriental touches had been put there, it was clear, for the benefit of foreigners. The English come from so far to see China one has to give them something of China to see. Bu t this was China as Westerners imagine it; exquisite, illogical, very entertaining. (8) The living room illustrates the combination of colonial mi micry and Orientalized Chinese ness'; playing up superficial elements of Chinese culture for the pleasure of W estern visitors who are ignorant to the reality of what Chinese culture would actually look like. Aunt Liang herself would be highly aware of the superficiality of these decorative objects; everything is carefully arranged to give off the desired appearanc e, exoticizing herself and her home to leverage what power she can get within the colonial system The irony is that while the living room may appear exotic to Western eyes, overall it is far more Western than Chinese. In addition to the contrast between Eastern and Western elements, there is also a clash between the orderly mansion and the overgrown, bright nature of the surrounding hillside. The mansion has a carefully manicured garden, "like a gold lacquered serving tray lifted high amid the wild hills: one row of carefully pruned evergreens; two beds of fine, well spaced English roses the whole arrangement severely perfect, not a hair out of place, as if the tray had been deftly adorned with a lavish painting in the fine line style ( Zhang, Fallen City 7) Like the rest of the house, the garden is strictly arranged and maintained, like a tea tray servilely offered up to foreign guests. Inside the wall of the garden, spring is "only puttering about"; in the corner of the lawn is a small azalea, its blooms a "bright shrimp pink." This is contrasted with the "roar of wild azaleas blooming across the hill" outside the garden walls, "the fiery red stomping through brittle grass,
! *& blazing down the mountainside (7) In the garden, nature is tamed and subdued int o something man made, like a tea tray, the real Hong Kong countryside stringently cultivated into orderly rows like an English style garden. Nature is molded into something unnatural and mimetic in order to accommodate the desires of Aunt Liang and her soc ial circle, just as Chinese culture is twisted into a strange caricature of itself to please the Orientalist gaze The strangeness of the house is not limited to its architecture and decoration; it also seems to operate outside of the normal rules of time While it is described as very modern and Aunt Liang takes pains that things are done in the English style telling Weilong "here in Hong Kong we follow the English ways" ( Zhang, Fallen City 21) the house seems stuck in China's Imperial past. Weilong obser ves that Aunt Liang has "held back the wheel of history," preserving "in her own small world, the opulent lifestyle of the late Qing dynasty. Behind her own doors, s he was a little Empress Cixi" (Z hang Fallen City 23). 5 In various instances, the inhabitan ts are described as if they were sucked in to the house or trapped in time, as when Glint declares that she "could spend a lifetime here and never get anywhere!" (31). Aunt Liang herself is still playing at the coquetry of a much younger woman, althou gh she is well past her prime. This temporal collapse alludes to the focus on time as the "crucial category in the radical rethinking of Chinese culture" during the May Fourth era (Shih 42). In order for China to catch up' with the West and become modern, tradi tion had to be completely done away with. The fact that the modern and Westernized Liang mansion is haunted by an air of past ness, even !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( Empress Dowager Cixi was the ruthless and charismatic unofficial ruler of China from 1861 1908, wielding extreme power and control within the deteriorating empire.
! *' appearing to Weilong as an imperial tomb,' indicates the "tenacity of feudal structures and the difficulty of completi ng the cultural enlightenment project" (Shih 300). Aloeswood follows the typical female Gothic plot of a young, innocent heroine "confined to a great house or castle under the authority of a powerful male figure or his female surrogate" (Punter and Byro n 279) but it also deviates to some extent in accordance with the particularities of the colonial situation If we hold that the Liang mansion is representative of colonial Hong Kong, then the female Gothic plot of entrapment and (non)escape which feature s in Aloeswood can be seen as Weilong's confrontation with and absorption into the colonial space of Hong Kong. In the female Gothic plot, t he heroine must maneuver through the domestic space and maintain a fierce morality in order to survive and these narratives often focus on the psychological experience of terror and anxiety of t he heroine The psychological rather than truly otherworldly nature of the supernatural and unheimlich elements in Aloeswood emphasizes that the true source of terror is col onialism and its insidious ability to penetrate and become internalized in the psyche of the colonized subject. The particularities of Weilong's plot as differentiated from the archetypal female Gothic plot accurately represent Shanghai cosmopolitanism. F or instance, instead of being confined to the house by some turn of fortune or fate, it is W eilong's idea to live with her a unt, and she negotiates the living situation of her own accord. This echoes the concept of Chinese modernization/Westernization as a willing colonization of consciousness, undert aken in order to benefit China; just as Weilong's struggles within the house can be seen as the struggles of the Chinese individual trying to adapt to colonial modernity. Entering the house, she is entering the colonial space and putting herself
! *( under the authority of Aunt Liang, who, herself having willingly chosen to be the concubine of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman for his wealth, can be seen as representative of the Hong Kong bourgeoisie's willingness to c ooperate with the colonial government in order to reap the lucrative financial benefits thereof. Within Aunt Liang's house, Weilong is absorbed into the culture of the Hong Kong upper class. She is given a closet full of fancy clothes, "silks and satins, brocade housedresses, short coats, long coats, beach wraps, nightgowns, bath wear, evening gowns, afternoon cocktail dresses, semiformal dining wear for entertaining guests at home everything was there" (Z hang Fallen City 28). As a schoolgirl, Weilong wou ld have no need for this proliferation of clothing, and realizes the implications: "Isn't this jus t how a bordello buys girls?" ( 28). This emphasizes the nature of her role in the house as one of prostitution; although not explicitly sexual at first, she i s still exchanging the use of her body "as a signboard to attract the mainstream sort of youth" in exchange for tuition money and her accommodation in the mansion (Z hang Fallen City 33). Weilong is to learn to be a Hong Kong socialite, to play piano acco mpaniment to popular songs, and to follow her aunt's cues and aid in the manipulation of social gatherings; she is to be used as bait to attract men for her aunt. As Leung theorizes, Weilong's eventual resignation to being part of its "strangeness" suggest s that Zhang is portraying colonization as "a psychological state, a condition that is internalized and thus much less clear cut and more difficult to exorcise" (89). This expl ains Aloeswood "'s reversed ending to the female Gothic plot, where instead of e scaping the house by marriage, Weilong's marriage confines her to the house indefinitely and seals her sad fate; she has
! *) internalized the strangeness of the colonial space, and it is no longer something that she can escape. Emergence of the Gothic : coloni zation as a psychological state Having established that the Liang mansion is representative of the colonial space, this final section will focus on Weilong's struggle and change within that space. I argue that in Aloeswood, the uncanny emerges upon Weil ong's failure to resist colonialism. This manifests in Weilong's changing perceptions of her surroundings; at first, Weilong is an outsider, and the mansion and its inhabitants appear strange and threatening. However, as Weilong becomes assimilated into th e household, the uncanny begins to manifest in the natural environment of Hong Kong, the Other of British colonial civilization. The unhomely and disorienting images that appear in Weilong's surroundings are projections of her own psychological state and r elationship to her environment, revealing that the danger is inside her own mind as she internalizes colonialism and materialism. Julie Hakim Azzam argues that in Gothic national allegories, the Gothic emerges from the failure of national and political pr ojects, ultimately revealing that those projects are haunted at the outset by what they must exclude, deny, or what they cannot know in order to function (Azzam 5) In the case of Aloeswood the failure is that of China's enlightenment project and push for total Westernization, which is haunted at the outset' by its totalistic rejection of the past and of Chinese tradition; the exclusion of Chinese culture and thought in favor of Western universality in the construction of a modern Chinese subjectivity ; and ambivalence towards the Western presence as a colonizing
! ** force. These exclusions and denials are the basis of the unhemilich return of the repressed Chinese past to terrorize the modern self. In Aloeswood, the unhemilich manifests as a psychologic al haunting. As Weilong enters the colonial space of the Liang mansion, she repeatedly experiences anxiety, illness, and ennui, and various objects, people, or landscapes that she encounters appear supernatural or threatening. This activation of Gothic emo tion mirrors the psychological disturbances of the Chinese individual encountering the overwhelming modern urban space of Shanghai, and the bifurcations of the China/West dualism that leave the modern self dislocated and "bereft of any existential bearings (Ng 10). As time goes on, Weilong becomes accustomed to and internalizes the strangeness' of the colonial space, marking the failure of the national project to strengthen the nation and combat exploitation. The source of the Gothic shifts from the mansi on to the surrounding nature of Hong Kong, manifesting the persistence of tradition/nature/the Other threatening the patriarchal order of the modern culture/civilized self. When at last Weilong's fate is sealed, the landscape of Hong Kong appears in a Goth ic manifestation of the sublime, reflecting the terror and hopelessness of her situation. Weilong's first encounter with her cold and callous Aunt leaves her shocked and overwhelmed. Madame Liang is in a fury over a disastrous date and Weilong's introducti on of herself as Aunt Liang's brother's daughter unleashes an outpouring of resentment about the past and her brother's rejection of her. Weilong has never encountered this kind of treatment before and experiences a shifting progression of anxiety and disc omfort: first her smile is "frozen stiff" ( Zhang, Fallen City 16), then "she flushed and then grew pale" (17), and when her aunt finally goes inside, Weilong is left
! *+ standing "dazed and alone in the sun. Her cheeks were burning, but the two tears that roll ed down her face were cold, chilling her to the bone" (17). Going inside, Weilong's anxieties about her aunt are projected on a prickly pear plant in a blue dish: It was budding, and the thick blue green leaves pressed upward on all sides like a nest of gr een snakes; the red tinge at the tip of the leaves looked like snake tongues. Behind the plant, a curtain shifted; Glint emerged, smiling. Weilong shivered. (18) Weilong's perception of the plant as a nest of snakes reflects a subconscious awareness of the house and its inhabitants as threatening and untrustworthy. Glint is a servant in Aunt Liang's house, and her emergence from behind the plant connects her to the imagery of the snakes, transferring the source of Weilong's anxiety from the plant to her uns ettling smile. This could even be a kind of foreshadowing, as it is Glint who sleeps with George mere hours after his affair with Weilong later in the story. Regardless, the image of the plant as a nest of vipers reflects the overall character of the house hold and its inhabitants as underhanded, manipulative, spiteful, predatory, and dangerous, qualities which all prove to be true. If Weilong perceives Glint as a snake, then Aunt Liang is rightfully portrayed through Weilong's eyes as a sleeping tiger. En tering the study, Weilong sees her aunt "half reclined in a lounge chair, one leg hooked over the armrest and a gold embroidered high heeled slipper dangling from her foot, ready to fall off at any momenther face covered with a banana leaf fan, Madame Lia ng seemed to be sleeping" (19). The dangling shoe contributes to a feeling of tension and anticipation, heightened when Aunt Liang barks from behind the fan at Weilong to "Sit down!" without moving at all (19).
! Weilong sits and begins a flattering entreaty for her aunt's assistance, during which her aunt begins twirling the banana leaf fan; "the yellow rays of sunlight filtered through it onto her face, like tiger whiskers quivering around her mouth" (20). Madame Liang begins picking and tearing at the fan, and "suddenly Weilong saw that her aunt was treating the fan as if it were someone's face and that it was her face that appeared through the slits" (21). The characterization of Aunt Liang as a predatory crouching tiger is reflective of the general strang eness of her and Weilong's relationship. Although they are relatives, there exists no warmth or familial love between the two. Aunt Liang treats Weilong as a pawn in her game of social manipulations, the bait with which she lures her prey. Despite her disp lay of ferocity and resentment towards Weilong's father, Aunt Liang agrees to let Weilong live with her after a calculation of her value as a tool of social manipulation. When Aunt Liang tells Weilong she can live with her, Weilong begins a transition fro m living with her parents to becoming a part of the Liang household. The liminality of this state is reflected in the activation of Gothic "anxieties of the threshold" marking the transition between worlds (DeLamotte 20), wherein Weilong experiences her su rroundings as strange and disorienting. 6 It is important to note that this is the first scene featuring the motif of the moon, which reappears throughout the story during shifts in Weilong's mental state as an indicator of change and disorientation. When s he leaves the house after that first visit, it is dusk, and the sun is setting in a "florid profusion" of colors (22). Weilong's transitory state is reflected in the time of day and the appearance of the moon before the sun has set; the boundaries between day and night are undefined, mingling together in a disorienting haze. In this twilight space, the environment begins to !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ) A common example of this would be the horror movie convention of a door grating on its hinges.
! +! seem supernatural. As she walks along, the moon seems "to grow whiter and more translucent," and appears "to be just beyond her" (23). She seems to see a phoenix on the road ahead, and begins to feel "slightly dazed" (23). Stopping to rest, Weilong looks back at her Aunt's house from a distance, and "strangely enough" can "still see the yellow and red of the window frames, and the green glass panes reflecting the sea. That splendid white house, covered in green roof tile, bore more than a passing resemblance to an ancient imperial tomb" ( Zhang, Fallen City 23). She imagines herself as one of the young scholars from a chuanqi tale, "the ki nd who goes up a mountain to see a relative and then, on the homeward journey, looks back at the mansion and finds it has become a grave mound" (23). In this ghostly image, Weilong seems to see the true character of her Aunt's house; although it is a moder n mansion, it is haunted by China's Imperial past This image reflects the failure of the modernist project to eradicate tradition; the eerie ghosts of China's imperial legacy return to haunt the house of modernity. Weilong's vision also foreshadows the ma nsion as her own eventual tomb. Although she does not die physically, she eventually loses herself, residing in the mansion as a prostitute. When Weilong returns to the mansion to move in, it is evening again, foggy and humid. The mansion now appears spo oky in the style of Wuthering Heights "melting viscously into the white mist, leaving only the greenish gleam of the lamplight shining through square after square of the green windowpanes" ( Zhang, Fallen City 25). Although there are many cars outside, the mansion is eerily quiet and seems deserted. In a further invocation of anxiety of the threshold,' w hen Weilong approaches the door, she is startled by a pack of barking dogs, reminiscent of Mr. Lockwood's first visit to
! +$ Wuthering Heights. Weilong is welc omed and led to her room by a servant wearing a tunic and trousers with a white vest, "a slave girl costume from the days of Dream of the Red Chamber (27). The eerie effect of the fog, the strange silence, and the archaic costume create a feeling of tensi on and past ness' evocative of entering a haunted castle ; Weilong seems to be stepping into another world. This deployment of Gothic imagery and emotion highlights the strangeness of the colonial space of the mansion and the anxiety accompanying Weilong's transition. As Weilong enters her new room on the second floor in a dream like haze, music from the dinner party below drifts upward: Weilong's room, small like a boat, was launched on waves of music. The old wall lamp in its red gauze shade seemed to b ob and float, and she felt herself swaying about, exuberant and elated. She opened the pearly net curtains and leaned against the framed glass door. There was a narrow balcony and, beyond the metal railing, the mist was drifting by, thick, white, and rolli ng; it felt like a shipboard view of the sea. (28) The boat imagery alludes to Weilong's transition, the rolling mist suggesting a sense of distance and change; it is as if she must travel through both time and space to truly enter the dislocated space of the mansion. The bobbing lamp adds to the sense of displacement and enchantment, and Weilong's elation and exuberance suggest that she is being lulled into complacency. Weilong's enchantment with her room is intensified when she opens the closet door to p ut away her things and finds it full of "gleaming, gorgeous clothesshe realized that her aunt had put them there for her" ( Zhang, Fallen City 28). She tries to go to sleep,
! +% but begins experiencing a kind of materialistic synesthesia where music is correla ted with different styles of fabric: As soon as she shut her eyes she was trying on clothes, one outfit after another. Woolen things, thick and furry as a perturbing jazz dance; crushed velvet things, deep and sad as an aria from a Western opera; rich, fi ne silks, smooth and slippery like "The Blue Danube," coolly enveloping the whole body. She had just fallen into a dazed slumber when the music changed. She woke with a start. The panting thrust of a rumba came from downstairs, and she couldn't help but th ink of that long electric purple dress hanging in the closet, and the swish it would make with each dance step. (29) This synesthesia seems to be a kind of psychological inundation with the opulent materialism of Aunt Liang's lifestyle. Even closing her ey es, all Weilong can do is envision trying on the fancy clothes in her closet. The intensity of the vibrant images of clothing paired with the sensuous caress of the music is suggestive of the overwhelming sensory stimuli of the modern urban space. It also resembles the technique of "synesthetic listing" used by new sensationist writers, "in which a string of sense crossing images follows one after another" (Shih 288). This allows the author to describe the sights and sensations of a space in an attempt to r eproduce the overwhelming sensations of the actual experience. The opulent materialism represented by the clothes closet seems to act as a seductive force, and it is the closet that comforts her when she is overwhelmed by the strangeness of the outside. Opening up the closet door, she observes:
! +& It was dark inside the closet, and the lilac scent made her dizzy. The air of the faraway past was in there decorous, languid, heedless of time. In that closet there was no bright, clear morning like the one outs ide the window, with its flat green grass, mute frightened face, and peanut skins at the corner of the mouthall that dirty, complicated, unreasonable reality. Once Weilong had gone into that clothes closet, she stayed for two or three months, and she had lots of opportunities to dress up. (33) This marks Weilong's shift from being outside of the colonial world to one of its participants. She is figuratively swallowed up by the house, staying' in the closet for several month, suggesting an ennui and compla cency with her situation, fueled by the opulence and material comforts of her surroundings. As Weilong becomes part of that house and absorbed into the colonial mindset, its strangeness becomes normalized and colonialism's Others (China/nature/emotion/ female) begin to seem strange. George, a manifestation of the feminized and dualistic Byronic hero, appears in Weilong's life as a love interest, inspiring in her intense and overwhelming emotions which threaten the rationality and detachment required of h er in the capitalistic and rational world of Hong Kong colonialism. The unhemilich ness of Weilong's emotions is accentuated by an outpouring of dark nature imagery and activation of the sublime as the Hong Kong countryside grows more and more lush and ali ve, echoing the wildness and danger of Weilong's feelings. Weilong meets George Qiao at Aunt Liang's garden party. George is a textbook Byronic hero: tall and "imposingly masculine," seemingly "fallen" though of high class
! +' birth, moody, mysterious, and wi th a penetrating gaze (Williams 143 144). 7 His father is a member of the Hong Kong elite, but George's mother is a Portuguese concubine, and he stands to inherit nothing. He is a playboy, a charismatic "good for nothing" whose sullenness seems driven by hi s poor social standing as a Eurasian ( Zhang, Fallen City 44). Williams argues that the Byronic hero, a common archetype in female Gothic narratives, is driven by a fatal erotic love, embodying a depth of feeling underneath his very masculine exterior; this paradoxical combination is the source of his mystery and magnetism. As the Other of the female Gothic plot, he manifests the supernatural and enigmatic qualities usually associated with the supernatural feminine in male Gothic, and "in fact he embodies th e duality the Western tradition has always allotted to the female as the imperfect or lesser term" (Williams 144). In the female Gothic, this duality causes confusion for the heroine about the man's true nature; he at first appears "threatening, then reass uring." His eventual "transformation" in her eyes as she learns to accurately read his paradoxical appearance and to love him "facilitates the happy conclusion" of marriage (Williams 144). While George and Weilong do end up married, the conclusion in this case is not so happy, as it seals Weilong into a life of prostitution and eventual abandonment. George's feminized status as a Eurasian emphasizes the male/female duality of the Byronic hero, but also prevents him from being able to save Weilong, since "su rrounded by Hong Kong peopl e, he lived like a foreigner" (Z hang Fallen City 53). I posit that George, as the product of mixed Chinese and European heritage, could be symbolic of Chinese cosmopolitanism. Weilong's total infatuation with him, despite the fa ct that "he !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 7 The Byronic Hero is named for Lord Byron (1788 1824), an English romantic poet, and is a common character in Romantic era Female Gothic narratives. Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights are both example s of this character.
! +( did not love her" (Z hang Fallen City 59), is reminiscent of Shih's argument that Chinese cosmopolitanism was asymmetrical, with Chinese modernists entering into the global arena "in a leap of imagination," "very much a one sided affair with th e Chinese gesticulating energetically without really getting seen or heard" (374). The terrifying passion that George inspires in Weilong, "raging and wild beyond words," is a textb ook example of Gothic emotion (Z hang Fallen City 69). When they first meet "Weilong was wearing a cheongsam of thin, porcelain green silk, and when he stared at her with his dark green eyes, her arms grew hot, like hot milk pouring out of a green pitcher she felt her whole body melting" (40). The intensity of George's gaze crea tes in Weilong the bodily sensation of melting, a kind of psychological overload that continues to manifest throughout the narrative as a kind of illness or pathology. This incident is highlighted by the emergence of the moon as Weilong and George walk tog ether around the garden, a motif that appears during each of their subsequent meetings. Symbolic of the female/the Other, the appearance of the moon is a manifestation of the sublime, the terrifying awe of nature as the (m)other to the cultural order of th e father. The moon is also related to emotions and the senses, even insanity, and suggests the consuming and disorienting power of Weilong's emotions about George. The moon features heavily in Weilong and George's third scene, as George comes to see he r "by moonlight, and he left by moonlight" ( Zhang, Fallen City 55). As he descends the hill from her room, "the entire hollow was like a huge cauldron that was slowly being heated by the dark blue blaze of the moon" (56). This moon imagery emphasizes emoti on and the primal, which is fitting, as this is the first time that George and Weilong have sex. George seems to be consumed by the moon's primal power and
! +) emotion; as he leaves, he runs into Glint, who is once again compared to a snake, her "hair braided and coiled up on the head, serpent like" (56). They argue, and George follows Glint inside for another affair. Weilong, meanwhile, is laying in her room in a daze; she has been "dipped in moonlight, steeped in moonlight, till her whole body was transparent (59). Nature, as the threatening Other, has breached the boundary of the house's walls. The pervasive presence of the moon, heating the cauldron like hollow "till you could hear the water boiling," parallels the rising tension of the narrative and signal s danger for Weilong, who is letting herself be taken over by emotion (56). Weilong's internal anguish is reflected in the weather. Deciding that she must go back home to Shanghai because of George's infidelity, she takes a bus from the bottom of the hil l to buy a boat ticket. When she is walking home, a downpour begins: The water swept smoothly down the steep asphalt road, and Weilong wrung out her dress as she walked, but no sooner had she wrung it out, than it was drenched again. For the past two days she'd been on the edge of catching a cold; now she was chilled through and through. Once she got home she fell ill, first the flu and then pneumonia. This scene echoes the pattern of Weilong's space being invaded by the natural environment of Hong Kong, f rom the humidity invading her room to her body being dipped in moonlight.' In this case, it is more than symbolically threatening, causing her to become ill and confining her to her room for the rest of the summer. Her persistent illness is an embodiment of the doubt and terror that she feels. The terror of Weilong's emotions is most strongly projected in the final scene, when George and Weilong as a married couple go to Wanchai for New Year's Eve:
! +* The sky overhead was a dark purple blue, and the sea at t he end of the winter sky was purple blue too, but here in the bay was a place like this, a place teeming with people and lanterns and dazzling goods...and stretching out beyond these lights and people and market good, the clear desolation of sea and sky; e ndless emptiness, endless terror. Her future was like that it didn't bear thinking about; if she did think, it was only endless terror. She had no lasting arrangement for her life. Her fearful, cringing heart could find a makeshift sort of rest only in lit tle odds and ends, like these spread out before her. (73 74) Since Weilong is now fully absorbed into the capitalist colonial culture of Hong Kong, only being able to find comfort in material things like the market goods, the unheimlich is activated most s trongly in the scenery outside of the colonial space. The endless emptiness' of the sea and sky are a foil to the activity and order of civilization as symbolized by the market place, an excessive and primitive nothingness that threatens the structures of human life with a reminder of its own insignificance and vulnerability. The endless emptiness mirrors the emptiness and terror of Weilong's own bleak future; while she is contemplating the desolation of the landscape, it is a physical manifestation of the desolation of her own life, one that she cannot ignore. The Gothic ness in Aloeswood particularly in the Liang mansion's characterization as an imperial tomb (suggesting past ness, death, stagnation, and haunting), arises from the unheimlich return of the repressed. In this case, it is the traditional Chinese self,' repressed in the reform ideology of total Westernization. Despite modernists' efforts to completely overhaul traditional Chinese culture, it persists in a ghostly caricaturized form of i tself, resurrected through the performance of Chinese
! ++ ness' for the Western Orientalist gaze. This past self haunts the modern Chinese self that is struggling to modernize and build a new nation, and echoes the Gothic fear of loss of the essential self. T hus, by adopting Western ideology, Chinese modernists adopted a self Othering/self exoticizing frame of reference, leading to a crisis of identity and loss of self.
! +, Conclusion I have argued that the stories from Chuanqi activate the Gothic mode within the domestic sphere, and that placing th ese stories within the historical context of occupie d Shanghai can reveal the political and cultural implications of the ir Gothic elements If we consider the home as a symbol of the nation, then the national romance bec omes an allegory for divisive conflicts threatening the security and well being of the nation, and Zhang's romances are revealed to be highly political. The Gothic myth is the myth of the patriarchal family, and the strange houses and twisted family relati onships in Zhang's stories reveal some of the cultural issues and societal tensions that abounded in semicolonial Shanghai and colonial Hong Kong under the overlapping patriarchal systems of colonialism and traditional Confucian family structure. This ana lysis is important because it challenges critiques of Zhang's writing as superficial and apolitical for focusing on the lives of female petty urbanites a criticism that she appears to have struggled with in her own thoughts about her stories. In an essay on her own writing style, she said : "A ll I really write about are some of the trivial things that happen between men and women. There is no war and no revolution in my works" ( Written 18). She also deems herself "incapable of writing the kind of work that people usually refer to as a monument to an era'" ( Written 18). However, in the same essay she challenges the idea that grand, nationalist stories about war and revolution can accurately represent modern man, and argues that if her stories seem overly ind ulgent or decadent, it is because she must "portray the rich duplicity and elaborate designs of modern people in order to set them off against the ground of life's simplicity" ( Written 18). If her
! ,! characters are frivolous or flawed, overly concerned with t heir own lives despite the tumult of their surroundings, it is because that is how she observed modern people to be While Zhang acknowledg es the allegedly trivial' focus of her stories, at the same time she seems dissatisfied with the idea that love is less true or less relevant of a topic than war and revolution She argues that people are more unguarded and honest in love, more truly themselves, impl ying that stories about romance are more capable of capturing some underlying and enduring reality of hu man existence. H er self stated intention is "to portray the kinds of memories left behind by humanity as it has lived through each and every ep och" and by these means to provide to the reality that surrounds me a revelation" ( Written 18). Lu Yingjiu unde rstands Zhang's essay as an argument for the inclusion of the ordinary and the everyday in the discourse of modernity. Zhang's characters are "the ordinary, not so heroic, urban people" who "are not conscious about modernization as such but simply live its consequences and live them on the most immediate personal level (Y. Lu 8). This "ordinary modernity" exists in tandem with the intelligentsia's discourse of revolutionary or high modernity ; they are two sides of the same coin (Y. Lu 9). Zhang's argument is that without a depiction of ordinary modernity, the mundane and intimate lived experiences of everyday people, it is impossible to truly capture the "totality of the era" (Y. Lu 9). I believe that my analysis both supports Zhang's own vision and also s heds new light on her writing. My argument show s that women's stories can be universal and political and that the private sphere of the home rather than being a truly separate and enclosed space is deeply impacted by the public sphere. The options that wo men are
! ,$ given and the choices that they make are shaped by their historical and political contexts, and as s uch, both the broader trajectories and the intimate details of their lives are encoded with political and cultural information. A historically cont extualized reading of Gothic domesticity in Chuanqi also reveals a very specific political statement about the failure of the May Fourth project to achieve its goal of liberating and strengthening China, an aim that was often encapsulated in an ethos of fr ee love and women's liberation. The iconic model of women's liberation during the May Fourth period was that of Nora, the protagonist of Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House walking out the front door of her house to leave her husband and children and be he r own person. In the early 20 th century, A Doll's House was widely translated and performed in China, and Nora became a lauded image of "rebellious women, who bravely defy society to seek after freedom and independence" (Chen 1); Nora like characters and t he leaving home' theme appeared in various plays, novels, and stories (Chen 3). While this ethos of liberation encouraged women to defy tradition and emancipate themselves, the harsh reality was that after choosing to leave home, women did not have many places to go. Lu Xun (1881 1936), widely considered to be the father of modern Chinese literature, addressed this issue in a 1923 lecture titled "After Nora walks out, what then?" wherein he argued for the necessi ty of women's economic freedom. Lu Xun argu ed that once Nora had left, having brought nothing with her except her liberated mind, her only options were "return or ruin" (3). Nora's main concern would be economic resources, without which one cannot be truly free: "while money cannot buy freedom, fre edom can be sold for money" (3). Chinese society did not yet
! ,% allow for women to live independently and support themselves, and a liberated' woman would typically have few options for survival: she could return to married life, or she could be ruined' by working as a prostitute, cohabitating with a man, or living as a kept' woman. Thus, women were faced with a choice between freedom and survival, idealism and reality. This problem is reflected throughout the stories in Chuanqi in the choices that female c haracters must make between survival and love. For this reason, villainous characters such as Qiqiao and Aunt Liang, who are warped and corrupted by their own greed, must also be understood as victims of a society that gave them few alternatives for surviv al. Even Liusu, whose ending is the happiest, is accused of viewing marriage as a kind of prostitution. Though Weilong chooses the path opposite of her aunt, love, she is even worse off for she sell s her body all the same and will have nothing to show for it in the end. I t is true that Zhang's stories were not propagandistic in the style of revolutionary nationalism However, that does not make them apolitical; b y focusing on the domestic sphere and the details of intimate relationships Zhang portrayed th e reality of modernizing China in people's day to day lives revealing the failings of May Fourth ideology.
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