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Pearl S. Buck China rural novels of the "land of the theme"

Author WeiLan
Tutor YaoJunWei
School Nanjing Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Pearl S. Buck Chinese peasantry novels Land Complex CulturalMarginalizer Idea of Cultural Harmony
CLC I712.074
Type PhD thesis
Year 2013
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Focusing on the countryside of China, Pearl Buck’s works with the Chinese peasant life as their subject matter remain vigorous and influential in current literary studies. With the demonstration of land image in various aspects, together with the theme of land embodied in her works, a harmonious and self-sufficient text world has emerged in the history of world literature.In the face of such a giant realm of novels, it is beyond the author’s capability to offer a comprehensive description and analysis of her works. Instead, the author tries to concentrate on the four major masterworks featuring the Chinese peasant life:The Good Earth Trilogy, Dragon Seed, Kinfolk, and the Mother. Based on the previous studies, the present dissertation begins with the land image reflected in Pearl S. Buck’s peasantry works, and aims to interpret her novels from the perspective of her position as a marginalizer, and hence draw some conclusions in terms of land themes.As a cultural marginalizer, Pearl S. Buck is always deeply concerned with the China’s peasants and land in her inter-culture writing. Guided by human reasoning, her writing reveals her understanding of Chinese people and culture, which is fully embodied in her description of the relationship between human beings and land, thereby illustrating the deep love of Chinese people for their land in the agrarian age.Preoccupied with the ancient cultural topic of "human and land", the writer considers the Land Complex of different peoples and offers a comparative analysis to her readers. In this way, her writings reveal the common concern with land of human beings as a whole even though she focuses on the specific settings of China, her Fatherland, thus enriching her works with universal significance. What’s more, Pearl S.Buck appeals a new relationship of harmonious co-existence between human beings, between man and nature, as well as between different peoples, which is embodied in the Idea of Cultural Harmony in her novels.This dissertation is composed of three parts:introduction, main body and conclusion. The introduction deals with Pearl S. Buck’s populist writing and her deep-rooted attachment with China, as well as the target, method of analysis and the framework of this dissertation. Then briefly introduces the previous and current studies of Pearl S. Buck and her works home and abroad, as well as the academic and realistic meanings of this dissertation. Five chapters constitute the second part. The first chapter traces the historic transformation of image of China, which ultimately leads to the unique description of rural China by Pearl S. Buck. Chapter Two analyses and summarizes the land image and land theme on the basis of a detailed reading of the four masterpieces. Chapter Three is to demonstrate the rural society of China by interpreting the interaction between human beings and between man and nature in the novels. The fourth chapter makes a comparative analysis between Pearl S. Buck and her contemporary Chinese local writers who also focus their writings on Chinese peasant life. In Chapter Five, the author tries to reveal Pearl S. Buck’s effort to build her multi-cultural identity in her intercultural writings of land themes, which ultimately realizes her aspiration of cultural harmony.The third part reviews and readdresses the major conclusions:the unique insight of this cultural marginalizer makes the theme of land with a universal anthropological meaning the emphasis of her works, illustrating her life pursuit of cultural harmony. Therefore, the study of her land complex is fundmentally meaningful in terms of culture and literature. Finally some ideas concerning the follow-up studies are offered in this part. Based on this dissertation, the author is to focus on the Land Complex, populist writing, and the original and metaphorical meaning of culture, conducting a further research on the realistic and metaphorical meaning of Pearl S. Buck’s cross-cultural writing and communication in a modern context.

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