Show/Hide Right Push Menu   
Go to Content Area

Article Summary

::: :::
Date 2021-03-12


A Paradoxical Taiwan Allegory: Wansei’s Writing, Narrative Strategy, and Japanese Complex in Dust in the Wind


Tseng, Hsiu-Ping

Assistant Professor, Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature, National Taiwan Normal University


The second piece of Shih Shu-ching’s Taiwan Trilogy, Dust in the Wind (2008), makes “wanseiJapanese who were born in Taiwan during the period of Japanese Rulethe protagonists of the trilogy. By doing so, it problematizes and rethinks the border of “Taiwan” and questions what should be included under “Taiwan” as a category. This essay highlights the significance of Taiwan born Japanese’s writing of Shih. On the one hand, it leaves records for a forgotten historical ethnic group; on the other hand, it bears indescribable burdens—How should an ex-colonial writer write a “Taiwan allegory” of which the protagonist is the colonizer? This essay probes this difficult writing and its identity crisis through the discussions of wansei’s writing, war narrative, and aesthetic narrative. Further, it criticizes and re-examines the political fable of the novel.

This essay suggests that the narrative trajectory of Dust in the Wind reveals the narrator’s political unconscious and represents a paradoxical Taiwan national allegory. The brand new narrative perspective from wansei undoubtedly fills up and blank page of Taiwan’s colonial history, but it also leads to the missing of the Taiwanese subject. The Japanese complex that haunts the novel from the beginning echoes the colonial legacy that continues until now. This essay suggests that “cultural hybridity” cannot fully explain the narrative strategy and writing ethics of Dust in the Wind. In light of Frantz Fanon's criticism on colonial power, this essay sees decolonization in Dust in the Wind. The essay points out the paradox and difficulties of Dust in the Wind’s national allegory, which reflect the post-colonial symptoms of contemporary Taiwan. To recognize symptoms marks the beginning of decolonization.

back to top
Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature