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Honors Thesis Archive

Author Mai P. Trinh
Title Heresy 邪魔外道and Otherization in The Heaven Sword and the Dragon Sabre 倚天屠龙记
Department Languages
Advisors Howard Choy, Jennifer Oldstone-Moore, and Wu Jie
Year 2009
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (346 KB)
At the author's request, an electronic copy of this thesis is only available to on-campus users.
Abstract We live in a world of dualism, where we often familiarize ourselves with the ideas of right and wrong, good and evil, orthodoxy and heresy. How are these concepts shaped? Who defines the fine border of this binarism? This interdisciplinary research looks into the world of Chinese martial arts novels, which is dominated by the struggle for identity of the knights-errant, in order to analyze the concepts of heresy 邪魔外道 and Otherization. Using Jin Yong's 金庸 The Heaven Sword and the Dragon Sabre 倚天屠龙记 as the main primary source, other classical Chinese texts such as Han Feizi's 韩非子 "Five Vermin" 五蠹 and The T'ang Code 大唐律例as supporting secondary sources, and psychoanalytic and post-colonialist theories about the Self, the other, and the Other by Derrida, Freud, Sartre, Lacan, Levinas, Spivak, and Bhabha, this paper analyzes three different levels of conflicts that the protagonist Zhang Wuji 张无忌 experienced in the novel: personal identity crises, sectarian conflicts, and national clashes. The analyses also include the origin of the knights-errant in the pre-Qin period (before 221 B.C.E.), how they had been viewed by the official Chinese government since then, and how orthodoxy and heresy were split. It is proposed that these two concepts are defined on the basis of Otherization; in other words, the separation, demonization, and extinction of the Other by the Subject. Orthodoxy and heresy are always intertwined with each other, which creates a gray shade in a black-and-white dualism, as presented in the complex and constantly struggling character of Zhang Wuji. By analyzing such representative character and concepts this research wishes to provide readers with a better understanding of the world in which we live today.

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