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Disappearing Moon Café

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					Disappearing Moon Café


   Major Issues
Outline

   Time Line vs. Plot Lines: Kae‘s role in them.
   Mother-Daughter Relationships
   The Novel
       Historiographical Metafiction
       as Kunstlerinroman -- Kae -- a Writer as a Young
        Woman
Time Line vs. Plot Line
   1892: the beginning of the retrieval of bones, meeting Kelora Chen--
    (1894 the famine– ) (Prologue and Epilogue)
   1924: (1) Mui Lan vs. Fong Mei;
    Janet Smith; argument about JS bill
   1926 two babies: Keeman and Beatrice
    1932 Tin An‘s leaving
   1938: Beatrice sent to Hong Kong to study
    1939: Gwei Chang old and dreaming; reunion with Lee Chong
    1942 Ting An dies
   1949 Morgan knows Sue
    1950 Sue talks to her sister about her pregnancy
    1951 Sue's death and Kae's birth
    1962 Fong Mei's death
    1967 Morgan; 1968 drunk
    1971 (1) K metting Hermia in Peking, wanting "legitimate, traditional,
    conventional" family ties
    1986 (1) Kae Ying birthing
    1987 telegram to Kae Ying
Time Line vs. Plot Line
1.   1. Prologue--Searches for the Bones; 1892
2.   [Kae Ying Woo] Waiting for Enlightment (1986) Mui
     Lan‗ 1924  her early life  Hermia 1971  Fong Mei‘s letters
     1919 --Fong Mei and Ting An 1924
3.   Ties Overseas--A Ticket In -arrangements to have a son
     1924; Kae 1986  Morgan 1967 --search for history around
     the time of 1924-25 [Janet Smith]
4.   Triangles –1925 Fong Mei --Mui Lan-- Choy Fuk; Choy -Fuk --
     Song Ann; Fong Mei-- Ting An
5.   Ties to the Land--A Ticket Out Kae 1986 job and child care
      Seto Chi  Babies 1926 (Chi‘s story? Morgan‘s)  Story
     1926  Hermia 1971  Beatrice 1939  Beatrice and
     Keeman 1946  Fong Mei ( 1926 pregnancy)  Keeman‘s
     discussion with her mother
6.   Identity Crisis– 1968 Morgan 1949 M and Sue (168) 1950
     Mui Lan‘s departure  1950 Sue  Kae 1968 (Chi‘s story
     about Suzie)
Time Line vs. Plot Line

1.   The Writer—1986  Fong Mei‘s sex 
     1986 criticizes her own language 184; I, the
     resolution, give the story some sense of
     purpose 209; creation not aborted 215
2.   The Suicide – 1951 Suzie's perspective
     before the suicide  1986 Kae‘s finding and
     resolution
3.   Epilogue New Moon 1939  1924
     (houseboy)  1932 (Ting An's leaving) 
     1894  1939
Mother-Daughter Relationships
What are the causes for the conflicts between the mothers(-in-law)
  and daughters(-in-law)?
 Kae Ying's interpretation of his great granny: 31--"My dumb
  great-granny"--she becomes a tyrant; her view of Fong Mei 37.
 a great Chinese tragedy--caused by history 179; "we're all
  related at the end" 69;
 Women's position-- like orphan: "If you were a little child,
  desperately trying to cling to somebody who refuses to nurture
  you, you would get quite hysteric too." "Grown women are
  orphan --children" p. 138
  they were ungrounded women, living with displaced chinamen,
  and everyone trapped by circumstances. I prefer to romanticize
  them as a lineage of women with passion and fierceness in their
  veins. p. 145
The Positions of the Chinese Men?
Orphaned, Emasculated or Obsessed by Guilt
   Choy Fuk -- afraid of his mother; impatient with his
    wife 94-96; powerless outside 97-99; dependant on
    Song An 100-104 --Why?
   Ting An's --sympathy for Fong Mei 53- ; lack of
    experience with women; His views of the Chinese
    107, 113-14;
   Morgan – pathetic; drowned in the past.
   Gwei Chang
       powerful as a patriarch in Chinese Benevolent Association
       Sees through the powerlessness of his generation;
       mysterious; relaxed;
       with a sense of guilt (The Epilogue)
   An Exception: Keeman – optimistic, confident, but
    dim-witted;
Kae as a resolution to this conflict?

   Kae//Suzie
       Morgan
       Two kinds of birth 215
    Suzanne's ghost--"All this bondage we
    volunteer on ourselves! Untie them! Untie
    me!"
    The narrator, Kae, exclaims her freedom:
    "after three generations of struggle, the
    daughters are free!"
Historiographical Metafiction

   Official history revisited only to problematize
    it or open it up to re-interpretations.
   The central mysteries:
       whether Wong kills Janet Smith;
       whether Suzanne commits suicide.
   They are open to reconstructions by the
    narrator for her to build her own identity.
the novel as a Kunstlerinroman
   reconstruction of four kinds of fragments:
        1) bones, 2) broken family (revelation of secret: p. 32; 132;
        "lost babies 132), 3) unknown history (JS bill), 4) Kae Ying's
        identity.
   the conscious use of romance elements: (note on the
    Form of Romance)
       revelation p. 22;
       Morgan's and Kae's response to romance and mystery 66; 70
       Fong Mei and Ting An 184
       titles 208-209;
   the narrator's self awareness:
       tries to break the mother's silence180
       writing--In writing, I feel like a drunk weaving all over the
        road. ...How many ways are there to tell stories? 185-
The Form of Melodrama --Violence
   Inner violence:
    [in the family melodrama,]
    "the social pressures are such, the frame of respectability so sharply
    defined that the range of 'strong' actions is limited. The tellingly
    impotent gesture, the social gaffe, the hysterical outburst replaces
    any more directly liberating or self-annihilating action, and the cathartic
    violence of a shoot-out or a chase becomes an inner violence, often
    one which the characters turn against themselves.(56)
    (source)
   Between the paralysed system and entropic desire:
    "the melodramatic text is balanced on the edge of two extremes, one
    of which is inertial (the paralysis of the system, its resistance to change
    or any form of external development) and the other of which is entropic
    (where action is expressed only as an irrational and undirected surplus
    energy). . . . In summary, even though the incorporation of the Oedipal
    scenario enable the domestic melodrama to establish a concrete form
    of narrative organisation, this scenario still reproduced, within its own
    structural relations, the central contradiction of the genre--the
    impossibility of an individual reconciliation of the law and
    desire. (source 2)
The Form of Melodrama –Emotional
Excess
   "[W]hen in ordinary language we call something
    melodramatic, what we mean is an exaggerated
    rise-and-fall pattern in human actions and emotional
    responses, a from-the-sublime-to-the-ridiculous
    movement, a foreshortening of lived time in favor of
    intensity - all of which produces a graph of much
    greater fluctuation, a quick swing from one
    extreme to the other than is considered natural,
    realistic or in conformity with literary standards of
    verisimilitude." (source 1)
the novel as a Kunstlerinroman (2)

   Kae Ying's growth:
       at 17: 64-65;
       lost Morgan with his alcoholism;--> Morgan's story
        136 (about the fight);
       Kae Ying's fear of risks 1971 p. 41
       disappointed at moment of birthing: kinship for
        enlightenment 19; her interpretation of "female-
        bang" 62-63.
       Disappearing Moon to New Moon
the novel as a Kunstlerinroman (3)

   K and the marginalized: Hermia and Chi
       -the misplaced bastard daughter of a gangster
        and his moll 41
       Hermia 38- 39 a bare and newborn baby; loves
        and understands Kae Ying; wants her to write 138;
       "legitimate, traditional and conventional were the
        adjectives to wear in those days, esp. when I
        suspected my own identity might be as
        defective." -dual personality
       mutual comfort 210
Kae Ying's self-reflexiveness and writing
process:
1.       fictional self-consciousness:
          history as reconstructions 136;
          reality lives are stories 209
          criticizes her own language 184;
2.       Process: from men‘s histories to women‘s talk-stories.
          listens to Morgan's, the mother's and Chi's stories;
          write her own stories in which all the women speak and Morgan
           speak and offer their interpretations; pp. 185-
          present Sue's story from her perspective (denying Morgan‘s view).
          Acts out the conclusion: ―I, the resolution, give the story some
           sense of purpose 209‖;
          the letter to Hermia about "reality" 214-15.
          creation not aborted 215
Reference:

1.   Thomas Elsaesser, "Tales of Sound and Fury:
     Observations on the Family Drama." Home is
     Where the Heart Is. Ed. Christine Gledhill.
2.   David. N. Rodowick, "Madness, Authority and
     Ideology: The Domestic Melodrama of the 1950s."‖
     Home is Where the Heart Is. Ed. Christine Gledhill.
     273.

3.   分裂與整合:華裔加拿大作品中的家庭隱私與族裔
     認同
     <http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/worldlit/paper/chinese_
     canadian_identity.html >

				
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