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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Hero, non-hero, and anti-hero : a critical study of the development of Chen Jiangong's fiction Hu, Lingyi


This M.A. thesis is a critical study of Chen Jiangong's fiction, chiefly attempting to reveal the process of thematic development in this author's works by way of tracing the hero through non-hero to anti-hero. The first chapter, which is biographical, makes a brief account of Chen's family background, personal experience as well as the unique personality fostered by his ten year career as a coal-miner. The second chapter presents an analysis of the thematic defects of his early fiction, and meanwhile some technical matters are succinctly introduced. The third chapter deals with the stylistic traits -- subject matter, narrative technique and language -- of the three stories which left untouched in the previous chapter due to their different way of representation. In order to show clearly Chen's two styles, a comparison of these three stories with his other early works is frequently made. The fourth chapter is an interpretation of his two mature works "No. 9 Winch Handle Alley" and "Looking for Fun." The centre of attention is mainly concentrated on "the sense of tragicomedy" -- a philosophy of life rather than a mere technique Chen acquired after he disposed of former literary dogmas. The fifth chapter is devoted to a comparative study of his masterpiece "Curlylocks" and how it was influenced by J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye". The aspect of anti-heroism is especially stressed. The sixth chapter is a summary in which Chen's thematic transformation from heroism to anti-heroism is reiterated and his literary achievements are evaluated.

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