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Toward the Planetary Hospitality Beyond the Phallic Jouissance: David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly and Trying to Find Chinatown

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2021, 34(1), pp.233-259
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : March 14, 2021
  • Accepted : April 14, 2021
  • Published : April 30, 2021

Jiyun Kim 1

1연세대학교 영어영문학과 BK21 Plus 사업단

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper delves into the ever-present issue of ‘how can a subject genuinely interact with others,’ through David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly (1988) and Trying to Find Chinatown (1996). Starting from the Lacanian psychoanalytic analysis on M. Butterfly, the paper investigates the tropes of phallic jouissance among different racial and cultural subjects. In the process, it is revealed that we cannot authentically communicate with others if we keep the western dichotomic perception of the world, which divides the ego and the non-ego. As the paper further explores the shift in Hwang’s identity politics within Trying to Find Chinatown, identity is disclosed as a matter of individual choice, and people are shown to be all connected within a universal network, notably in this cosmopolitan era. That is, each subject is inseparable from one another in infinite cultural hybridity and thus holds an ambiguous and mixed medley of sense of self. Thus, the paper ultimately attempts to find an ethical direction of identity politics that will allow a sincere encounter with cultural others from several gems of postcolonial theories: Gayatri Spivak’s planetarity, Sara Suleri’s radical inseparability, Homi Bhabha’s cultural hybridity, and Jacques Derrida’s absolute hospitality. Such trace of thinking begets the final imperative that we should create our distinct compound of plural identities while accepting others as part of ourselves to commune in planetary hospitality.

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