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ISSN : 1229-9618(Print)
ISSN : 2671-7506(Online)
Chinese Studies Vol.83 pp.211-227

Cultural hybridity in Ah Xiao’s Unhappy Autumn

Kim Yun-Su
덕성여자대학교 차미리사교양대학 조교수


Ah Xiao’s Unhappy Autumn reveals cultural hybridity by portraying the daily life filled with the trivial housework of the main character Ah Xiao, who is from a rural area. This novel, which describes Ah Xiao’s daily life in detail, focusing on his relationship with his Western employer. it reveals a dichotomous worldview of colonization and empire, domination and subjugation between the East and the West. Ah Xiao leaves her rural hometown and is placed in three cultures: rural areas, Shanghai, and the West by working as a housekeeper at a foreigner’s house in Shanghai. In this novel, Ah Xiao is a multilayered cultural hybrid who speaks not only his hometown dialect and Shanghai dialect but also English by working as a nanny at a Western home, experiencing multilayered cultural hybridity. Therefore, this paper focuses on the cultural hybridity experienced by Ah Xiao from rural areas who works at a Western home in Shanghai and examines the process of identity formation and the meaning of hybridity in this novel. In this novel, Shanghai is depicted as a settlement for foreigners and a hybrid community rather than its previous splendor, and phenomena that operate differently from the dichotomous worldview centered on the West can be found. And these complex and diverse hybrid characteristics revealed by these characters are elements that cannot be understood simply as Chinese tradition and Western dichotomous categories, which can be interpreted as a space for cultural negotiation.