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Title:Patriarchal fallacies East and West: A comparative study of gender imposition in the writings of Hell
Author(s):Lai, Sufen Sophia
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Palencia-Roth, Michael
Department / Program:Comparative and World Literature
Discipline:Comparative and World Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Literature, Asian
Religion, Philosophy of
Anthropology, Cultural
Literature, English
Abstract:In the structuralist's seemingly profound theory of "binary opposition" is a danger of institutionalizing gender. It is my contention in this project that "gender imposition" is a patriarchal and theological projection derived from the institutionalization of symbolic orders. By "gender imposition" I mean the symbolization of gender imposed through the projection of a patriarchal value system, particularly the theological one.
This project seeks to deconstruct the "gender imposition" projected in the symbolic system of the Underworld in both Chinese and Western cultures. It compares the descent into Hell in the Epic tradition of Homer, Virgil, and Dante (Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian tradition) with the descent into the Underworld in Chinese "supernatural tales" (chih-kuai genre) and Chinese "transformation texts" (pien-wen genre), which embody the Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist ideologies. Cultural values among these Western and non-Western traditions reveal a pattern of "gender imposition," the projection of a patriarchal value system.
By looking into the evolution of the Underworld in both cultures, it will be evident that the Jungian "archetype" is actually a historically determined product, based on patrilineal values and projecting a masculine symbolic system. It is, then, erroneous to say that the so-called "archetype" is an innate and eternal signifier, as Jung understood it, that reflects or describes natural phenomena and permanent image-patterns. Such a system evolves image-patterns that Jung mistakenly concluded to be "eternal archetypes." The same can be said about the Chinese Yin-Yang binary pair: it projects a masculine symbolic system that perpetuates anti-female image-patterns. This project compares the conception of Hell and journey patterns to it, both Eastern and Western, from a gender perspective in order to demonstrate that both the Jungian archetypal system and the Chinese Yin-Yang theory are culturally determined fallacies, projections derived from a patriarchal masculine symbolic system.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Lai, Sufen Sophia
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9305594
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9305594

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