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ERIC Number: ED516472
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 179
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-2704-3
Evaluating "Cat Country": The Humor within Satire
Chang, Chung-chien Karen
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Arizona State University
Satire, as a mode, is not frequently employed in Chinese narratives. "Cat Country," or "Mao Cheng Ji," written by Lao She (pen name of Shu Qing Chun, 1898--1966) has come under much attack of its literary values. Whereas most critics have no doubt that this work sets out to satirize China through the portrayal of a society of cats on Mars, the work has not been studied carefully as satire. Western scholars who have studied this narrative have formulated their analyses from the angle of the utopian/dystopian tradition. As "Cat Country" fails to fit all the characteristics of one or the other, how this piece should be interpreted has raised many questions. Moreover, the comments made by Chinese critics are often found at two extremes. Some contradictory evidence regarding the quality of this work has surfaced after the publication of this book in China and its translation into other languages. In China, where the political system has suppressed different voices, "Cat Country" has not received much positive feedback. However, this development does not diminish the appeal of this work outside of China. When translated into Russian, the book became a best-seller. This dissertation is inspired by the different critiques that the book has received. Apart from the critiques generated from the political angle, few studies have examined the satirical quality of this book to shed light on the fairness of past criticisms. Through a three-staged analysis, this dissertation aims at analyzing the satirical quality as well as the humor in "Cat Country." A bipartite structure parallels China and "Cat Country," showing that the author intends to satirize Chinese people through a group of cats. Moreover, employing the satirical techniques used by Saltykov-Scdrin, this study identifies the satirical characterizations exhibited by the cat-people. Furthermore, relying on the Syzygy Theory, this analysis shows that "Cat Country" employs rhetorical devices as satiric apparati (including irony, self-deprecating humor and parody) to maximize its force and influence on readers. The excellent employment of these rhetorical devices proves that "Cat Country" is a piece of satire with humorous and comic effects, explaining why this narrative enjoys a great readership. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China; Russia