Xiaohu Sieghard JIANG: Mother-Daughter Relationship in Elfriede Jelinek’s „Die Klavierspielerin“ and Eileen Chang’s „The Golden Cangue“

(für den Nachwuchsworkshop 2018)

In literature, the female is traditionally depicted as victims suppressed by patriarchal hegemony. However, Elfriede Jelinek’s novel Die Klavierspielerin (1983) and Eileen Chang’s Chinese novella The Golden Cangue (金锁记, 1943) focus on how daughters become victims of their mothers. Though with totally different national and cultural backgrounds, the former in Vienna and the latter in Shanghai, both works depict the despair of daughters whose lives are destroyed by the extreme manipulation of mothers. Nevertheless, while Die Klavierspielerin investigates the mother-daughter tension from the perspective of the daughter’s distorted mindset, The Golden Cangue sheds more lights on the psychological turmoil of the mother. At a more fundamental level, the daughter’s tragedy in Die Klavierspielerin originates from absolutism implemented here by the mother, which is divergent from the traditional representative of father. By contrast, The Golden Cangue attributes tragedies of both mother and daughter to the evil nature of humankind and the vulnerability of women in a Chinese society that was still haunted by feudalism.

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