Kingston pursued the goal of promoting peace in her literary works and tried to tell about a society without violence in which citizens use non-violent means to achieve non-violent goals. The writer confessed that in her novel Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, she attempted to depict the world healthy and nurturing young Wittman so that he could be a good man making his contribution to the welfare of the community Sugiyama For instance, Wittman Ah Sing and Tana try to escape the war by moving to the Hawaii but, paradoxically, appear to be even closer to the military located on the island Grice The most significant point in this plot line is that the author represents this attempt to escape as an act of pacifism interpreted as heroism.
Anti-Vietnam concerns expressed by Mailer and Kingston
Kingston managed to find peaceful means of protest for her protagonists who express their anti-military moods by producing an anti-war theatrical play. The events of the play take place in Vietnam War era in California, where a would-be poet and playwright Wittman Ah Sing writes an anti-war play involving a wide range of multicultural characters. The theatre as the resolution found by the novelist provides all participants with opportunities to express their anti-war sentiments in non-violent space.
Thus, Kingston considers the active rebellion offered by Mailer as inappropriate for achieving peaceful goals. Depicting the well-known Chinese warriors, Kingston does not represent them as great heroes as they were traditionally known to be, but people using violent means Sugiyama Therefore, war is represented as a fake in the novel and is under the control of Wittman and remains only an illusion in the peaceful world created by the author.
Thus, the book Tripmaster Monkey can be regarded as an embodiment of the idea of peace literature developed by Maxine Kingston who insisted on the use of peaceful means for reaching peaceful ends in contrast to the position of Norman Mailer who offered an active protest against the war in Vietnam as a result of totalitarian governance.
The active position chosen by Norman Mailer for depiction of the protest of his self-named protagonist is inseparable from the national self-identity of the character. The novelist believed that by informing his compatriots on the evils of the totalitarian government, he would be able to change their attitudes and appeal to their national feelings. The elderly woman with red hair in the gaming room of Las Vegas symbolizing the masses of American people is passive only because she is uninformed.
In other words, the war in Vietnam was not kept in secrecy, but the majority of the population did not understand the driving forces leading to this war as well as its implications. The expression of the anti-war sentiments and participation in the demonstration is the way offered by Mailer for obtaining the sense of American national identity. Therefore, regardless of all the inconveniences and risks associated with participation in the march, only by coming through these troubles, the protagonist achieved the sense of national self-identity.
Thus, active position and confrontation against the totalitarian governance in general and war in Vietnam driven by ideology in particular was perceived by Mailer as a part of his national self-identity and his civilian duty. A true American citizen could not act differently.
Teaching Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book
However, Mailer does not limit his duty as an American citizen to only expressing his personal anti-war concerns and demonstrating his personal indignation, but also extends it to informing others on the consequences of war in Vietnam, the true underlying causes and the scope of the tragedy Raman For the purpose of influencing the views of his compatriots and appealing to their national feelings, the author develops a genre of new journalism combining the features of fiction and conventional journalism. On the one hand, by intertwining his personal memoirs with the excerpts from current newspapers, the author provides substantial evidence for making his claims more believable and convincing readers.
On the other hand, by expressing his personal views on specific examples discussed in the media, Mailer sheds light upon the aspects which were previously overlooked by Americans.
The anti-war revolt expressed in The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer is closely interrelated with the sense of national identity in the main protagonist. The active position and confrontation to the totalitarian governance are the main features emphasized by Mailer as important elements of national self-identification of true American citizens.
The Chinese ancestry and the influence of the Chinese culture can explain the emphasis put by Kingston upon the peaceful means of expressing the anti-war moods as opposed to the revolutionary means and demonstrations which Kingston associated with violence. The Chinese ancestry plays an important role in the civilian position selected by Wittman.
It is important that when looking for the non-violent means for expressing the anti-war sentiments, the main protagonist communicates his ideas to the wide masses, including people with different ethnic and educational backgrounds.
Similarly to Mailer the novelist who regarded informing his compatriots on the injustice of Vietnamese war and absurdity of any war in general as a part of his civilian duty, Wittman communicated his ideas of using the non-violent means for expressing the anti-war sentiments as the most appropriate way for confronting war. The participation of the characters in the anti-war play is the most peaceful way for expressing the anti-war concerns of all possible methods.
All characters of Tripmaster Monkey obtain certain non-violent skills which can be used for their survival. Wittman as the main protagonist of the novel creates the environment favorable for expressing the protest against war in which the rest of the characters can use non-violent means for reaching non-violent ends. Therefore, the main characters do not remain silent, but the play on the peaceful stage is the only weapon they use. In that regard, the characters of this novel oppose the violence in all its forms, expressing their concerns but not using violent means for expressing their protest.
Due to his double ancestry, the main protagonist rethinks not only the current events taking place in American society, but also reconsiders certain points of the conventional Chinese cultural heritage. On the contrary, Kingston emphasizes the harm they do to themselves and the community by using the marital arts and violence. For instance, Lee Kuey who is known to be a Chinese national hero is presented as a brutal troublemaker.
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The main conclusion which can be drawn from the pacifist concerns expressed in Tripmaster Monkey is that a hero does not necessarily has to be a warrior and not using violent means does not imply passivity and indifference. Achieving the sense of his double national identity Wittman Ah Sing comes to a conclusion that pacifism is an integral part of his double national identity and reconsiders the current events of the Vietnam-war era and even the national Chinese heroes through the lens of pacifism as the most appropriate method of confronting war.
Trying to escape war and moving to the island, the main character does not lose his sense of national identity, but rather finds it in pacifism as his conscious position as an American citizen with Chinese ancestry. Raising the anti-Vietnam concerns and expressing their understanding of what it means to be a true American citizen, Mailer and Kingston underwent the influence of Walt Whitman who is recognized as a quintessentially American poet and journalist Huntley Including direct or indirect allusions on Whitman into their works, Mailer and Kingston emphasized their sense of belongingness to American culture in general.
Therefore, the anti-war revolt as one of the central motives of their works and their personal civilian disobedience did not imply their separation from the American culture.
Kingston, Maxine Hong 1940–
The visual imagery used by Mailer in The Armies of the Night as well as the main purpose of writing this book clearly demonstrate that Mailer shared his mission with Whitman who became his spiritual guru. The idea of stressing the American-ness of the novel and define national identity through the American style of prose reveal the intentions of Mailer. Thus, even though there are no direct reference to Whitman, Mailer shares his mission and even uses similar visual imagery in his novel. The allusions used by Kingston can be regarded as almost direct. Thus, Wittman Ah Sing as the chosen name for the main protagonist clearly demonstrates the intentions of the author to use a direct reference to Whitman and his well-known poem.
This allusion emphasizes the importance of defining the double national self-identity for the main protagonist of the novel. Pacifism as a unique form of anti-war revolt chosen by Kingston for her protagonist is related to the self-identity of Whittman Ah Sing and the issues raised by Whitman in his well-known poem. Thus, linking the anti-war revolts to the national self-identity of their main protagonists, Mailer and Kingston used indirect and direct references to Whitman as a quintessentially American poet and his Song of Myself as a hymn to personal and national identity.
Wittman almost constantly thinks about the racism and prejudice in American society. He is angry at the discrimination faced by non-white Americans, yet he is embarrassed by the behavior of recent Chinese immigrants.
He also compares the discrimination faced by Americans of Asian descent versus that faced by Latinos or Blacks. The writing style mainly consists of elements typical of postmodernism, especially a disjointed story line. The book is written entirely in stream of consciousness form and it is difficult to tell what is happening in reality versus only in Wittman's mind. There are constant references to the Chinese language, American literature, and English literature.
Although the novel is full of allusions to other works of literature, it is mainly based on Ulysses by James Joyce , " Song of Myself " by Walt Whitman , and the epic Chinese novel Journey to the West. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the band, see Tripmaster Monkey band. My idea for the Civil Rights Movement is that we integrate jobs, schools, buses, housing, lunch counters, yes, and we also integrate theater and parties. Powells Books. Wu Cheng'en 's Journey to the West. A Supplement to the Journey to the West c. Monkey: Journey to the West play.
Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book by Maxine Hong Kingston
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