AMBIVALENT ATTRACTION

Depictions of Women and Nationality in Wu Zhuoliu's Orphan of Asia

William Ford

ABSTRACT


Wu Zhuoliu's Orphan of Asia is perhaps the most frequently-cited example of resistance literature from the late colonial period in Taiwan. In this paper, I examine a particular trope that appears in Wu's writing – namely, the mapping of national characteristics onto depictions of women. By examining four female characters (a Taiwanese colonial subject, a Japanese “islander” in Taiwan, a metropolitan Japanese woman, and a woman of Mainland China), I find that the way Wu maps different modes of femininity onto not only the interpersonal relationships between his male protagonist, Hu Taiming, and these women but also onto the relationships between Taiwan and Japan and mainland China reveals a vision of Taiwanese colonial modernity that complicates our understanding of Orphan of Asia as a text of anti-colonial resistance.

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