To See Self from The Other -- A Imagology Study in Rain and Sinking

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Tian Huaxin


Somerset Maugham's Rain tells the story of a missionary in the South Pacific who tries to persuade a prostitute to mend her ways, but ends up falling victim to sexual desire. Sinking by Yu Dafu, a Chinese writer, tells the story of a young Chinese studying in Japan who could only alleviated his desire through peeping since he feels inferior about coming from a weak country.

The two texts were created in completely different times and spaces, and there are huge differences on the surface, especially between Eastern and Western cultures. However, the Imagology of the Comparative Literature builds a bridge between the two texts: the similarity is that they both take the image of the Other as a mirror image, from which they can see their own national image, and the variation of The behavior of the protagonist releasing his desires in foreign countries reflects similar humanity and different cultures.

Most of the classic imagology research texts take the images of foreign nations as the main object of expression, and attract curious readers with exotic customs, while the national images lurk behind the texts.The study of a single type of text naturally leads to the solidification of research conclusions.

The study analyzes the self-image from the images of others in the two works, and reveals the psychological, social and cultural factors behind the protagonists' sexual indulgences in foreign countries. The significance of the study is as follows: first, it reveals the literary function of the alien images as mirror images. Second, explore the comparative literature research value of this kind of special research text to fill the blank of discipline research. Thirdly, the study reveals the psychological, social and national culture common to the East and the West behind the images, which is a comparability of eastern and western literary works in imagology. The study provides a new paradigm for the study of eastern and Western cross-cultural literature.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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The Post-Soviet Literary Space and the World after Cold War