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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Feral children and prisoners of sex : Wang Anyi's Love in a small town Yaxing, Gu


The purpose of this thesis is to attempt to prove that the way Wang Anyi approaches sexual love and the insights she finds in the topic in her novella "Love in a Small Town" are unique in the history of Chinese literature. Chapter One seeks to show that the novella is an extended exploration of raw sexual desire and its consequences in the life of two people with very little education and culture. Thus, sex and its related mysteries have become the sole object of Wang's intellectual exploration in "Love in a Small Town". To provide a historic background for Wang's literary exploration, Chapter Two tries to demonstrate that the Chinese have an antiquated and unhealthy attitude both toward sexual relations in real life and the depiction of sexual activities in fiction. Chapter Three deals with the spiritual growth of Wang Anyi in an attempt to account for her peculiar and poignant interest as shown in her literary creation. The thesis concludes that by making an attempt at a Lawrentian set of terminology for describing sexual activities Wang has bridged in a way one of the gaps made by a narrow-minded literary theory between the May Fourth (1919) and "New Period" (Post-Mao) phases in modern Chinese literature. And, by boldly breaking taboos surrounding the subject of sex, Wang effectively draws public attention to the pernicious vestiges of sexual prudishness in the unconscious mind of the Chinese people.

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