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1.1An Introduction to Gerald Vizenor
Gerald Vizenor (1934-), one of the representative writers of American Indianrenaissance movement, is also a poet, essayist, and influential critic. Louis Owens, anAmerican Indian writer and critic, called him “the most innovative and sensitiveIndian writer”(Louis Owens, 1997:1). Debora Madsen appraised Vizenor as “the mostradical and even revolutionary Indian writer in America”(Debora Madsen, 2010:2).Vizenor is a prolific writer, and his famous works are as follows: The Trickster ofLiberty (1988), Bearheart: the Heirship Chronicles (1990), Interior Landscapes:Autobiographical Myths and Metaphors (1990), The Heirs of Columbus (1991) andHiroshima Bugi (2003). One of his greatest achievements was the winning of theAmerican Book Award in 1988 for his novel Griever: An American Monkey King inChina. Gerald also received an Artists Fellowship in Literature for 1989 from theCaliforniaArts Council, an award for professional achievement in literature.
As one of the representative writer born in the White Earth Reservation, heoriginated a radical voice through writing critical and ironic works to fight for hisfellow Indians. The ideological origin of his voice for minorities and marginal groupswas mainly influenced by his childhood experience and social environment. Later,under the multicultural development of the world today, the experience of enlisting inJapan and teaching abroad aroused his concern about the construction of minorityidentity. It also further influenced his writing style.
1.2An Introduction to Griever: An American Monkey King in China
Griever: An American Monkey King in China was written in 1986, and won the1986 New York Fiction Collective Award and the 1988 American Book Award.Vizenor took Native American stories into China, established a connection to Chinesetrickster — Sun Wukong, the Chinese Monkey King. Based on part of Vizenor’sown experience — as a visiting professor in China, it told what happened to amixed-blood teacher in Tianjin. Vizenor was inspired by the Chinese epic TheJourney to the West, the article of a monkey and his partners’ traveling. He matchedthe American Indian monkeys with the monkey king in Chinese mythology. The mainplots of the story are in the following:
Griever, an American Indian mixed-blood, educated by American white cultureand lived in the cultural gap. Through a government program, he went to teachlanguage at Zhou Enlai University in Tianjin, and started his journey of constructingcultural identity. Because of cultural differences, he made some mistakes and caused aseries of ironic events, such as liberating chickens in the market and bringing a cockback his dormitory as a pet. It was related to the Indian’s ecological consciousness ofadvocating harmonious of nature and the equality of all lives. He longed to findcommon ground between Chinese culture and Indian culture, to rebuild his owncultural identity in China, and further to better integrate into Chinese society. Grieverpretended to be Sun Wukong, a culture hero of Chinese, and attempted to berecognized by the public. However, he made a fool of himself. He wore the MonkeyKing mask and liberated the convicted criminals. He wisely thought that he had savedthem like chickens in the liberation market, but he was ignorant of the authority. Allthis was due to his incorrectly bringing of Indian culture into Chinese culture. Grieverwas keen, humorous and sympathetic to the weak. He often played tricks on authority,disrupts order and rescued persecuted people. He regarded himself as Monkey KingSun Wukong. He often imitated Monkey King’s actions, hoping that he could be asfree and unrestrained as Monkey King, and these behaviors aroused the attention andcuriosity of the Chinese people. When he taught in college, Griever hated the morningsongs at 6 a.m. on the school radio station. He sneaked into the school radio station atdawn, changed tapes and turned the morning songs into harsh American songs. In thisway, he expressed his challenge to the rules. When he took anatomy lessons as a child,he put the frog in a lunch bag and released it outside the school. In China, he liberatedthe chicken. Griever’s rescue of frogs and chickens inherited the spirit of naturalismin Indian culture. He believed that human is a member of nature. Animals and plantsnot only have life, but also have feelings. These stories of rescuing animals also showthe harmonious ecological feelings of Indians, they advocate nature, they are full ofreverence and love for the living creatures of nature.
II Theoretical Foundation
2.1 Homi Bhabha’s Postcolonial Theory
Homi Bhabha (1949- ), the Harvard professor and literary critic born in Bombay,is one of the most highly renowned figures in contemporary post-colonial studies.
Bhabha was born in the Parsi family, a descendant of the Parsi who fled fromPersia to India in order to avoid persecution in the 7th-8th century A.D. In Bhabha’sview, the Parsi community had a hybrid lifestyle. They had a mixed cultural pedigree,but lack of classical traditions. It gave people a space to experiment and created freelyas individuals and groups. When Bhabha later recalled his past, he realized, at thattime, he was still desperately trying to become an “Indian” in a kind ofhomogenization and integration way, which just explained the painful experience ofhis identity pursuing. Bhabha pointed out that the Parsi in India is not Indians, but theminority group outside the system. Until Bhabha went to Oxford University, he stillfelt the contradiction of this identity. It seemed that his position was very special andseemed to superior to others, but at the same time, it was not equal to ordinary Indians.He was unable to speak their language, and unable to be identified as real Indians（Liao Binghui,1994）. This is the reason why Bhabha’s post colonialism theories willbe analyzed with the combination of Vizenor’s work.
Homi Bhabha, Edward Said and Gayatri C. Spivak have been praised as the“Holy Trinity” of postcolonial theory(Zhao Xifang,2009). Although they had differentperspectives and theoretical points toward the post-colonial issues, they allindependently developed their own study filed, their purposes had something incommon. For example, they all tried to deconstruct the ideology of imperialism andthe myth of colonialism, deconstruct the west, especially centrism and dualism ofEuropean and American. They rebuilt the subjectivity of the bottom people and ethnicminorities, promoted the recognition of cultural differences among nations, andpromoted peaceful exchanges among national ethnic groups.
2.2 Evolution of Homi Bhabha’s Postcolonial Theory
Post-colonialism originated from the western literary and cultural circles in themiddle of 20th century. It was a strong political and critical academic trend. It mainlyfocused on the relationship between the suzerain and the former colonies. Therepresentatives of post-colonialism mainly included Edward Said and Homi Bhabha.The real realization of the value of post-colonialism theory began with Edward Said’spublication of Orientalism. Since then, colonialism began to spread to sociology,international relations, comparative literature, racial and gender issues.
Homi Bhabha put forward two influential postcolonial theories: hybridity theoryand the third space theory. And these theories were mainly inspired by Said, Lacanand Bakhtin.
When it refers to the source of Bhabha’s theory, Edward Said will be mentioned.Edward Said, the leading figure of post-colonial theory, was born in Palestine andgrew up in the United States. Later, he assumed a professor of comparative literatureat Columbia University, and his two theory Orientalism and culture and imperialismhave opened up a new field of post colonial theory research. Said’s Orientalismabsorbed Foucault’s discourse theory to analyze the colonial discourse by connectingpower, identity and region. Bhabha thought “Said was too na ve to assume thatintention and purpose of the western colonists could be achieved through theirdiscourse production”(Robert Young, 2003:142). On the basis of Said, Bhabha usedthe concept of hybridity to blur the boundary between eastern and western cultures.He used psychoanalytic theory to study ambivalence in the colonial discourse, and hepointed out that ambivalence embody the colonists’ anxiety even delusion about thecolonized, and this ambivalence threatened the identity and authority of thecolonists(He Yugao,2012).
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