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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 23, Issue 1/4, 2007

Semiotics in the Chinese Umwelt

Hsiu-chih Tsai
Pages 123-146

Female Sexuality
Its Allurement and Repression in Geling Yan’s “White Snake”

This paper aims at addressing how the question of Chinese female sexuality is questioned and challenged by the Chinese woman writer Geling Yan’s novella “White Snake” (1999). By adopting a similar title to the famous traditional Chinese monster story that narrates a white serpent transformed herself into a pretty lady to pursue and experience human love, Geling Yan’s novella carries the mimicry of the theme by portraying her protagonist as a serpent-embodying woman whose sexual power was deemed abnormal and monstrous. This imprisoned woman as a monstrous other, though sinuously gazed, desired and mocked, her monstrous sexuality, not as the un-human, but as the conflation where the social and cultural anxiety encounters the fear of desire and the difference, is given the chance to be re-initiated, re-directed and unleashed into another heterogeneous state and territory of the unsaid and unnamed behind the traditional cultural prison house.

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