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Title:Ideological Complicity in Vietnam War Narratives From "the Quiet American" To "miss Saigon"
Author(s):Worthy, Kathleen Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Carringer, R.,
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Modern
Literature, English
Abstract:The 1958 movie adaptation of Graham Greene's 1955 novel critical of U.S. intervention in Vietnam, The Quiet American, reversed the plot and the politics of the original. Chapter 1 demonstrates how both versions of The Quiet American identify a "masculine" position with the United States and a "feminine" position with Vietnam. Chapter 2 probes the film version's reversal and its retention of a gendered narrative structure as a model of the ideological appropriation of stereotypical gender traits. Special attention is given to representations of high-tech weaponry and of prostitution and rape in Vietnam War narratives such as Dispatches, Hearts and Minds, Close Quarters, and Casualties of War. Chapter 3 shifts the inquiry to the feminizing of male U.S. Vietnam veterans whether as nonwhite other, lunatic, or deserter in films of the 1970s and 1980s from Cool Breeze to Distant Thunder and in novels such as Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried. Chapter 4 argues that the film Apocalypse Now and the musical Miss Saigon share an ambivalence about dominance which indicates the instability of the ideological use of gender. This instability allows the appropriation of victimhood from the subordinate term to empower the dominant. The film Hearts of Darkness suggests that the source of ambivalence about dominance in Apocalypse Now originates in imperialism and traditional narratives. A narrative strategy to "break the codes" of hierarchical, exclusionary structures by pursuing a "complicitous critique" is presented in Chapter 5. Such a strategy takes the position of both the dominant and the subordinate term simultaneously. The Laotian Fragments uses a self-reflexive strategy but leaves the binary structure intact; but The Vietnam Project, Dispatches, Democracy, and The Things They Carried acknowledge complicity in the thinking which produced the Vietnam War, while commenting on the futility of such thinking.
Issue Date:1992
Description:205 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9305733
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1992

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