Tang Ting Ting and Immigrant Literature

  Established in 1950, the National Book Award is one of the most important American literary awards, with awards for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and youth literature. A person who has enriched the (American) literary tradition by serving a literary career, or by writing an equivalent book.” On September 10, 2008, the National Book Foundation announced that this year’s Medal of Outstanding Contribution to American Literature was awarded to 68-year-old Tang Tingting. This is the first time a Chinese-American writer has won this honor, and it is the third time that a writer of color has been favored after black writers Gwendline Brooks and Toni Morrison. “Musing fiction, memory, folklore and political ideas in a new, rich way of telling the greatness of American immigration, Tom Ting Ting fuses fiction, memory, folklore and political ideas,” Harold Ogenbroom, the foundation’s executive director, said in a statement. story”. The foundation’s official website states: “Tang Tingting uses a range of styles and stories in his work to create an amazing new way of writing immigrant memoirs and immigrant novels that has influenced two generations of American writers.” In other words, Tang Tingting won this heavy “Lifetime Achievement” medal for his pioneering and innovative work on American immigrant literature in both content and form.
  Looking back at Tang Tingting’s more than 30 years of creative career, the theme of immigration is indeed the focus of her attention and the biggest highlight of her creation. As a writer who emphasizes less and more, Tang Tingting has only written and published “Women Warriors: Memories of Teenage Girls Living in “Ghosts” (1976), “China Guy” (1980), “Sun Xingzhe: He Four novels including “The Fake Books” (1989), “The Fifth Book of Peace” (2003), and two collections of essays and one narration, “A Summer in Hawaii” (1978), “Through the Shade” (1987) He also edited a collection of poems, “Being a Poet” (2002), and edited a collection of essays, “War Veterans, Peace Veterans” (2006). Tang Tingting’s reputation and status as a writer today is almost entirely dependent on her four novels, which have included almost all the important awards in American literature: her debut novel “Women Warrior” was a blockbuster and won the National Book Critics Association Award that year. Five years later, “China Guy” is the icing on the cake, winning the National Book Award and almost winning the Pulitzer Prize. “Sun Xingzhe” and “The Fifth Book of Peace” are not inferior, respectively, winning the PEN International Fiction Award and the Best Western American Fiction Award. Best Spirit Book Award. Among these four important works, the first three focus on immigration. Tang Tingting was born in a typical early Chinese immigrant family and has unique advantages in creating immigrant literary works. The university education of English major at UC Berkeley also provided her with necessary knowledge reserve, creative vision and innovative consciousness. From “Women Warrior”, “Chinaman” to “Sun Xingzhe”, whether it is the theme of creation or narrative strategy, political appeal or artistic skills, Tang Tingting’s immigrant literature works give people a refreshing and lingering feeling.
  Among the three works, “Women Warrior” is the most popular, and critics and readers regard it as Tang Tingting’s representative work, and often mention it separately. However, Tang Tingting has repeatedly emphasized that both “Women Warrior” and “China Guy” are based on the real characters of the Tang family and the Chinese community and their experiences and encounters. Their conception and creation are almost synchronized, and the two constitute a yin and yang Harmonious and unified whole: the former is a “female book”, while the latter is a “male book”. “Women Warriors” consists of five chapters: “An Unknown Woman”, “Learning Taoism at Baihu Mountain”, “Country Doctor”, “Outside the West Palace Gate” and “Qiang Flute Wild Song”, each chapter has a female central character, who is the narrator. “My” aunt, Mulan, mother, aunt and “me” imagined by “me”, among which “me” and mother are the characters who follow through, and the “me” narrative is mixed with the memory of the mother. To put it simply, “Women Warrior” can be seen as the narrator “I” narrates the experiences of “I” and several female predecessors, and integrates it with Chinese and Western literary works, myths and legends. It shows the twists and turns of the “I” who is the second generation of Chinese immigrants in pursuit of self-identity and cultural identity, and criticizes and denounces the sexism within the Chinese-American community and the racial discrimination in American society. A first-generation immigrant mother played a pivotal role in “I” constructing a Chinese-American female identity: she was not only a “women warrior” capable of surviving in a society full of gender, racial and class discrimination She is also a “language warrior” who inherits the cultural tradition of Chinese women she represents by telling stories. The stories she tells are not only the source of “me” exploring self-identity, but also inspire “me” to become a writer who writes stories with a pen. “Language Warriors”.
  In “China Guy”, characters based on the Tang Tingting family and the Chinese laborers she knew occupy the main six chapters, and the titles appear in capital letters on the catalog page: “Father from China”, “Great-grandfather of Honolulu” , “Grandfather in the Sierra Nevada,” “Stories of Several Other Americans,” “Father Born in America,” and “Brother in Vietnam.” Tang Tingting said that the six chapters formed the bulk of “a six-layer cake,” and she also sprinkled “icing sugar” between each layer and at the top and bottom of the cake, some of the titles whose titles appear in italics on the table of contents pages. In the short chapters, the central characters are men from Chinese and Western literature and myths and legends. “China Guy” can be called a history of the struggles of Chinese male immigrants in the United States. While narrating his hardships, racial discrimination and unfair treatment, Tang Tingting focused on depicting Chinese people that were not mentioned in American history with an epic style. Immigrants’ tremendous contribution to the building of America, especially the development of Hawaii and the construction of the Trans-American Railroad, eloquently proves that Chinese American communities and individuals should have the same rights as white people, not aliens, but 100 percent American. The English title of “China Men”, “China Men”, was created by Tang Tingting based on the derogatory term “Chinaman” used by white Americans for Chinese men, with a pun intended. One hints at the racial discrimination and inhuman treatment of Chinese men, and the other highlights the purpose of this work to rectify the name of Chinese men: they are not “Chinese men” from inferior ethnic groups, but masculine men who have made great contributions to the United States “Chinese men”. Tang Tingting also stamped the title page and the title page of the above-mentioned six chapters of Chinese male stories with a large and striking seal with four Chinese characters “Golden Mountain Warrior” to express his respect and praise to the Chinese male ancestors.
  Both “Woman Warrior” and “China Guy” were labeled as non-fiction by publishers when they were brought to market, but in terms of artistic technique, the two works are more characteristic of postmodern novels. There is no close relationship between the five chapters of “Women Warriors” in terms of plot, and the storyline within each chapter does not adopt a traditional linear structure, but is based on past and present, memory and present, imagination and fact, myth and reality, narrative and Arguments, the narrative of “I” and the narrative of the mother move freely, intertwined and often without any hint to the reader. In “China Guy”, the chapter arrangement of “six-layer cake” also reflects the nonlinear structure and collage effect of postmodern novels. Creatively rewriting and parodying traditional cultural elements is also a major feature of postmodern writers. Tang Tingting rewrote and integrated “Mulan Poem”, “Eighteen Shots of Hu Jia”, mother-in-law’s tattooing, “Walking for Heaven” in “Water Margin”, Robin Hood’s robbing the rich and helping the poor, and martial arts revenge in martial arts novels. The plots and elements such as gods and ghosts in myths and legends, Chinese and foreign myths and legends and classic literary works are rewritten in a wider range and bolder, involving “Liao Zhai”, “Taiping Guang Ji”, “Wake Up” Hengyan, “Li Sao”, “Odyssey”, “Robinson Crusoe” and the story of the Polynesian demigod Moi, etc. These rewritten traditional cultural texts not only played a role in introducing, reconciling, commenting and interpreting the experiences and experiences of Chinese immigrants and their descendants in Tang Tingting’s writings, but also indirectly conveyed and confirmed her unique identity as a Chinese-American. and cultural traditions. For her, rewriting is no longer just a literary technique, it has become a necessary means for Chinese Americans with bicultural backgrounds to find and determine their cultural identity.
  Using the artistic techniques of post-modernist novels to create immigrant themes is Tang Tingting’s great initiative and forte. This feature has reached the pinnacle in “Sun Xingzhe”. As Tang Tingting’s first strictly fictional work, “Sun Xingzhe” is set in California in the 1960s, creating a fifth-generation Chinese-American who is deeply influenced by hippie culture and aspires to be a playwright person image. Tang Tingting named the protagonist Huitman Axin, which is a parody of the American poet Walt Whitman and American writer Brett Hart’s short poem “Pagan Chinaman” Chinese worker Axin, which is intended to subvert the mainstream of the United States The stereotyped image of the Chinese represented by the Chinese worker Ashin in the culture implies that the master is just like Whitman, the great American poet, who strives to affirm and praise his Chinese-American identity, the physical characteristics of the yellow race and his own identity through artistic creation. Chinese community. “Sun Xingzhe” does not use the first-person narrator of the previous two works, but from the omniscient and omnipotent third-person perspective, it is divided into nine chapters to tell Whitman’s experience in two months. Although there is a basic coherent storyline, the narrative Frequently cruising between Whitman’s inner thoughts and the external world, he is still loose and fragmented. In addition, parody, collage, language games and other idioms in postmodernist novels abound in the book. Various elements of American popular culture, American English, Cantonese dialect, Japanese and vulgar language, etc., are all included in more than 300 pages by Tang Tingting. As a result, this work presents obvious intertextuality and polyphonic features, with significantly enhanced difficulty and richer connotations. As critic Huntley put it, “The Sun Walker is reminiscent of the most prominent experimental narratives of the 20th century—Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, Nabokov’s Ada, Marr Keith’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. “Sun Xingzhe” borrows the Monkey King from Chinese mythology and does a very good job. Tang Tingting transformed that myth into an all-encompassing postmodern narrative. It embraces and absorbs all All kinds of things of culture and era.”

  Starting from The Fifth Book of Peace, Tang Tingting no longer attached himself to the theme of immigration, but turned to the theme of war. The theme of creation has also expanded from race, gender, class differences, and cultural identity and identity to opposing war and advocating peace. an issue of common concern to all mankind. Tang Tingting has been involved in the anti-war movement since her college days. The Gulf War prompted her to start writing an anti-war work called “The Fourth Book of Peace”. Unexpectedly, a fire in 1991 destroyed her home, including this one. Manuscript of the book. The fire caused heavy physical and psychological damage to Tang Tingting, but she thought it was an arrangement from God, and she intended to use the fire to strengthen her anti-war determination, so she decided to create “The Fifth Book of Peace”, and took the lead in setting up veterans to write The experimental class is dedicated to promoting the evil of war and the preciousness of peace to the world. This work is composed of “fire”, “paper”, “water”, “earth” and “postscript”, respectively telling about the fire in 1991, the origin of the title of “The Fifth Book of Peace”, “The Fourth Book of Peace”. The rewriting of “Book of Life”, the establishment of a writing experimental class for veterans, the rational thinking of the families of the victims of “9.11”, etc. This book is called “a non-fiction-fiction-non-fiction sandwich” by Tang Tingting, which clearly shows that postmodernism does not stick to traditional novel genres. Its plotless and relatively loose structure also makes people feel Think of the fragments and collages of postmodernism, but Tang Tingting borrowed the five-element structure of the whole book from traditional Chinese culture, so that the seemingly scattered chapters have the effect of being scattered but not scattered.
  In terms of ideological depth and innovative artistic techniques, Tang Tingting’s anti-war works are as good as her immigration-themed works, but they are not as numerous and influential as the latter. Chinese scholar Zhang Ziqing once summed up the influence of “Women Warrior”, “Chinaman” and “Sun Xingzhe” and Tang Tingting’s status in contemporary American literature: “These three novels are only 857 pages in total, but they are artistically established. The new tradition of Chinese American literature… More importantly, she has successfully won the honor of one of the major contemporary American writers in the distribution of power in the mainstream society, becoming one of the living American writers today, and her works have been selected by various anthologies One of the writers with the highest rate of inclusion, the most lectures in university forums, and the most read by college students.” No wonder the National Book Foundation of the United States repeatedly praised Tang Tingting’s three immigrant literary works in the reasons for awarding the award, but ignored his anti-war works. level. The fact that the National Book Foundation attaches so much importance to immigrant literature is not unrelated to the general social and cultural environment of the United States. In the 1960s, American society, dominated by Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture, began to advocate multiculturalism, paying unprecedented attention to non-white cultures and literary traditions such as blacks, indigenous peoples, Hispanics, and Asians. In the 1990s, with the in-depth development of globalization, cross-border communication and cultural integration have become the norm in the world. American academic circles, including the field of literature research, began to get rid of the narcissistic and closed rut, and increasingly emphasized transnational, transnational, A cross-cultural and cross-linguistic research perspective. The immigrant literature created by minority writers has received more and more attention, which just reflects the strong advocacy of the “transnationalist turn” by the American academic circles. Tang Tingting is not only an outstanding writer of American immigrant literature, but also represents the highest achievement of Chinese American literature. This award is well deserved.

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