Comparison of the Theme of Granny and Shame Amah Essay

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.....female agency in Wang Anyi's "Granny" and Eileen Chang's "Shame Amah"



The objective of this study is to compare and contrast the work of Eileen Chang's with reference to her theme "Shame Amah" and the work of Wang Anyi focusing on her theme "Granny". The study uses their works of the two writers to analyze their differences and similarities in the writing styles focusing on the themes Shame of Amah and Granny. Remarkably, Zhang was in her early twenties when she had been identified as a discriminating and precious writer. She benefited from both classical Western and Chinese literature making her being one of the most renown Chinese writers in the literary world.



Similarly, Eileen Chang is one of the most talented Chinese writers born in 1921 and has published several collections of English stories as well publishing two English novels. Eileen Chang was born in Shanghai and attended the University of Hong Kong. The talent of Eileen Chang came into limelight when she won an essay context in Shanghai sponsored by West Wind magazine. Eileen Chang returned to Shanghai where she was able to support herself by writing series of motion picture scripts and fictions. Between 1942 and 1952, Eileen Chang produced several significant bodies of literary works that placed her among the top important Chinese writers in Asia. After she migrated into the United States, Eileen Chang translated several of her short stories in the English Language. Thus, Chang's literary contribution was excellent that made both Zhang and Wang the most notable writer



Similar to Eileen Chang writing career, Wang Anyi was also a well-known Chinese writer who started her writing career when she was very young. After more than three decades of diligent work, Wang was able to establish herself as one of the influential, and prolific fiction writers. Similar to Eileen Chang literary contribution, Wang also delivered more than 36 volumes of fiction stories and essays that had assisted her to win numerous writing and literary awards in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. In 2000, Wang received Mao Dun Literature Prize, which the highest literary honor ever received. The most famous novel of Wang is the "The Song of Everlasting Sorrow".

Comparison of Themes "Shame Amah" and "Granny"



Granny was one of the literary works of Wang Anyi, and was translated by Howard Goldblatt. The author revealed that Granny worked as a maid in a house, and was Li Tianhua's grandmother because she was her adopted grandson. Li attended a middle school in Shanghai while her granny had been a house nanny in Shanghai. Wang reveals that Granny was a widow with no son, however, her daughter was about to get married making her join another people's family. This arrangement made her adopted son to be the sole heir of Granny.



Wang traced the history of Granny pointing out that Granny established herself as an housemaid when she was 16. Wang also revealed that her uncle had taken a great importance in her marriage. According to Wang, Granny was younger because her hair was black at first glance based on "the way she tucked her bangs behind her ears. She wore a blue cotton jacket with long, looping buttons down the front and a stand-up collar.".( Lau, and Howard p 463). While Granny did not have fair complexion compared to most of the Shanghai residents, nevertheless, she did not have a swarthy complexion that most country folks had. Rather, Granny had a slight yellow skin color.

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After some years, Granny had started showing up the age because of her hands. Moreover, her accent still showed the accent of a native Shanghainese, however, she still maintained an erect and healthy posture when walking near a dinner table.



By comparing themes Shame Amah with Granny, it was revealed that both Eileen Chang and Wang Anyi used the profile of women in the description of their literary stories. As being pointed out by Chang, Shame of Amah portrayed the image of a struggling working woman who has been able to survive the dignity with reference to the relationships between foreign male employers and servant male master where the interaction has been complicated between sexism and imperialism. Chang translated one of her stories from Chinese to Shame Amah in 1962 that explored how Chang has been able to resist colonialism through her series of her texts.(Shen, 5) Eileen Chang published Shame of Amah in 1944 in the Chinese language before being translated into English. Typically, Shame of Amah "belongs to Eileen Chang brilliant series of portrait of China's largest port city in Shanghai".(Chang 4). The Shame of Amah is well known for its freezing irony, caustic sarcasm and vision of reality contribute to the Chang fiction.



Referring back at the theme Granny, typically, Granny was not a sophisticated lady compared to the western lady and other high educated people in the city. She was brought in the humble family with little education. Typically, she has become a maid when was 16 years. Similarly, Chang used the "Shame Amah" to portray the same low-class girl similar with Granny. Although, Granny was better socially, and was working as a maid, nevertheless, she was still working in a conducive environment, and well received in the house where she was serving as a maid. This was revealed in the Wang's books by describing Granny as a woman from a privileged background. For example, Wang asserted that Granny bent waist while legs apart, rested her haunches, betraying the sign of a country woman.



However, When Granny was getting old, the author further pointed out that Granny's pale eyes, and sparse brows were noticeable, which was not noticeable on women from a privileged background. Moreover, she was no more looking like a country woman, and when she spoke, her teeth, her upper lip hung back, lower lip protruded out slightly, which exposed her teeth making her resemble one of those shrewish village women. Moreover, there was a dimple in her eyes, and when she was trying to look at something, she looked at it from the corner of her eyes. Whang depicted Granny as a woman who resisted social changes despite living in Shanghai for 30 years, she had not been able to transform herself into a real urbanite.( Wang).



Contrary to the Granny background, Meng, and Noritah argued that "Shame Amah" exemplified "Chang's own translation of the Chinese "Steamed Osmanthus Flower Ah Xiao's Unhappy Autumn" (569). According to the author, Chang portrayed herself as "Shame Amah" because of the challenges that she faced when trying to established herself literarily in the United States. Chang migrated into the United States in 1955 and "tried to establish herself in the literary scene by writing in English and translating her own short stories". (Meng, and North 569). Being….....

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Works Cited

Barker, P.Michel Foucault: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh: University Press. 2000.Print.

Chang, E. Shame, Amah!" In Nieh, N. L. (Ed.), Eight Stories by Chinese Women (p. 91-114). Taipei: Heritage Press. 1962. Print

Chang, Sung-sheng, and Ann C. Carver. Bamboo shoots after the rain: contemporary stories by women writers of Taiwan. New York: The Feminist Press, 1990. Print.

Chen, J. Translation Studies Based on the Data of Self-translation: A Case Study of Zhang Ailing. Beijing: Chinese Social Science Press, 2009. Print

Lau, Joseph S. M., and Howard Goldblatt. The Columbia anthology of modern Chinese literature. New York: Columbia U. Press, 2007. Print.

Li, J.T.Y. Politics of self-translation: Eileen Chang. Perspectives: Studies in Transtology, 14.2. (2006). 99-106.

McLoed, J. Beginning Postcolonialism. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press. 2000.Print.

Meng, Qiao, and Noritah Omar. "Resistance Against and Collusion with Colonialism: Eileen Chang's Writing and Translation of "Steamed Osmanthus Flower Ah Xiao's Unhappy Autumn." Pertanika J. Soc. Sci. & Hum 20.2 (2012): 563-76. Web.

Shen, I. A Century of Chinese Exclusion Abroad. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. 2006. Print

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