Authors: Ruttapond Swanpitak
Sexuality is a taboo topic to which Chinese writers returned to explore in their writing during the post-Mao period. Due to unprecedented intellectual freedom during this new era, together with the influx of modern Western thought into China, Chinese writers, especially women writers, have drawn attention to gender-related issues. Women writers like Wang Anyi challenged traditional Chinese patriarchies as well as the Maoist ideology that largely controlled sexuality. In terms of love and sexuality, Wang Anyi explores the conflicts between sexual desire and the traditions of culture and society hidden in female consciousness, and reinterprets human sexuality in women’s psychology and physiology from a feminist perspective that is best illustrated in her mid-1980s trilogy Three Loves, comprising three novellas: Love on a Barren Mountain (1986), Love in a Small Town (1986) and Brocade Valley (1987). This paper examines the theme of sexual desire and how female sexuality and subjectivity are consciously created by Wang Anyi, together with a consideration of locations which have symbolic and ironic meanings in her trilogy. This research argues that in her advocacy of sexuality as a part of human nature rather than a political and social way of life, Wang Anyi demonstrates both the destructive and constructive aspects of sexuality with her unconventional narratives in Three Loves not only in response to the established gender hierarchy, but also in defiance of the Maoist ideology that largely repressed and desexualized sexual desire.
Keywords: contemporary Chinese literature, women writers, sexuality, psychology, Wang Anyi, Three Loves