Emotional and Ecological Grief of Overseas Student Life: Su Xuelin in the 1920s

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Chloe F. Starr


One unanticipated effect of three years of pandemic has been the disruption to the hundreds of thousands of student exchanges and resident periods abroad that would usually enliven student minds and create a new empathy and understanding of different perspectives, often retained through an entire career. The benefits to learning a different culture in situ, and knowing in person, for inter-cultural understanding are great, as they permeate through circles of acquaintance on return. Two of Su Xuelin’s best known writings of the 1920s, Lü tian 绿天and Jixin 棘心 offer an excavation of the emotional anxiety of distance from family and home coupled with the rejection of native ways of doing and seeing things, played out in the everyday cares and national pride of a young female student. This paper considers Su’s intense attachment to France in her prescient ecological awareness, and her emotional attachments to mother and husband narrated through the language and metaphor of Catholic faith.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Mutual Learning among Civilizations through Comparative Literature