Chinese mothers - Western daughters? : cross-cultural representations of mother-daughter relationships in contemporary Chinese and Western women's writing
This study looks at women's prose narrative representing four major Chinese communities during the last 30 years, and focuses on the depiction of mother-daughter relationships among personae within the narrative texts. The thesis seeks to suggest that mother-daughter relationships within the texts are a reflection of how a text responds to its mother culture in the course of development. Narrative prose ranging from self-professed autobiographies to the fictional, written by Chinese women from American-Chinese communities, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China, are examined in a comparative approach within an ethnical framework. The concept of a national literature is discussed with regard to different fonns of Chinese-ness. It is revealed, in the course of this examination, that each group of Chinese women's writing examined here demonstrates an acute awareness of a link with an original mother culture, the Chinese orientation. However, recent events both inside and outside China have inevitably shaped cultural development in these communities, resulting in splits and diversifications in the individual cultural consciousness. Approached from this perspective, the Chinese mother culture gains a new vitality by virtue of shedding the burden of a long history. Focusing on the intertextual activities of regional writings, it is shown that represented Chinese-ness is no longer an unchanged and unchanging phenomenon, but is redefined each moment through the locus of interactions among independent hybrid communities.