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An ecological return to harmony in Amy Tan's novels

Abstract : Comments on Amy Tan's novels mainly focus on what we associate with human culture, ignoring the material dimensions of existence that figure prominently in her novels. Influenced by the anthropocentric idea that the human being/the subject is superior to things/the object, critics mainly focus on the mother-daughter relation, the importance of language and memory and the conflicts of Chinese and American culture. However, in the context of the so-called “return to things,” “back to things,” and “turn to the non-human” which has become visible in the humanities since the 1990s, I concentrate on things, specifically on the interactions between humans and nonhumans in her novels. Under the influence of both American and Chinese culture, Tan breaks with the western tradition of binary opposition in which the subject is superior to the object. Qi-things include natural and man-made things, human beings, and even spiritual things and things in the textual world. Bringing the twenty-first century western revision of things into dialogue with Chinese philosophies, especially Taoism, this dissertation discusses the traits of Qi-things and how they interact with each other to foster an ecological return to harmony within the textual world that reconciles humans and non-humans, microcosm and macrocosm.
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Qiping Liu. An ecological return to harmony in Amy Tan's novels. Literature. Université Toulouse le Mirail - Toulouse II, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017TOU20073⟩. ⟨tel-02325463⟩

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