As one of the most important writers in contemporary Taiwan, Luo Yi-Jun’s novel Western Xia Hotel is based on real historical data of Western Xia, which is inverted to become fictionalized Taiwan. In this highly fictionalized land of dreams, mirrors, and shadows, people with diasporic experiences and mentality of exile tell their stories of trauma and suffering. The whole book exhibits living conditions of the protagonist Tunik and his family after the civil war: they feel they are unable to fit in and full of loneliness and sense of being marginalized. This research proposes the concept of “the paradox of Taiwanese,” which means those who do not identify with Taiwan are Taiwanese, too. The research takes changing ethnic relations in Taiwan as the background in order to explore under what kinds of cultural, social, and political conditions the speaking position of not willing to identify with Taiwan is made possible and embedded within Taiwan national discourse. The second question is concerned with the metaphoric meanings of the hotel. A hotel seems to be a place for temporary residence, and its main residents are mainlanders, as well as Taiwanese, the indigenous people, and the new immigrants. The mainlanders desire to escape from the hotel but at the same time are trapped here with no where to go. The author uses hotel as a metaphor of Taiwan, but its main residents are mainlanders, while the other ethnic groups play an insignificant role. Lastly, the research examines the concept of exile in this book as rooted in the specific historical circumstances of Taiwan. Therefore, this is a place-based exile. The researcher expects to explore the narrative machinery and narrative content of the novel in order to recalibrate the speaking position of the second-generation mainlanders as a process of flowing and becoming. What is emphasized by Luo as “becoming non-human” is in fact becoming non-Taiwanese. The entire loop of becoming eventually demonstrates the paradox of Taiwanese: forever deferral and fleeing without an end is the situation of being and becoming Taiwanese.
|Effective start/end date||2018/08/01 → 2019/07/31|
- Western Xia Hotel
- the paradox of Taiwanese
- ethnic relations
- identity politics
- place-based exile
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