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Metamorphosis of the Family in the Novels of Lin-bai and Chen-zhan
In discussing mainland Chinese female writers Lin-bai and Chen-zhan, known for their outstanding “private novels,” critics always center on the feminist issues and “writing of desire” presented in their works. This essay intends to explore these authors from another perspective, looking at how Lin and Chen depict the family situation, specifically the interaction between father, mother and daughter in their description of young girls’ experience of growing up. By clarifying the complexities of intra-familial affection and family metamorphosis, the essay shows that this kind of writing in effect transforms or “transmutes” traditional family relationships and functions. The novels of Lin-bai and Chen-zhan, by depicting the inward movement of family space and the transgressions of the “national image” into the space of the body, may be said to express the historical meaning of postmodern Chinese writing.
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