Type / Thesis

Anna and the King’s Time Travel: From Female Travel Writing to Hollywood Films

Wei-ching Lai

Page / 27-50

Abstract


This essay aims to analyze three Anna’s stories which are different in terms of media and time and thereby to demonstrate their drastic changes with the pass of time. The multifarious, shifting facets of Anna’s stories preclude their readers and audience from generalizing them. It is a great fallacy to reject or approve an unfamiliar Anna’s story without really reading or watching it. This series of stories, more complex than people assume, deserve to be re-evaluated in the near future, and their incessant retellings symptomize Westerners’ changing interpretations of cross-cultural relationships. Considering spacio-temporal diversities, media varieties, and different implied readers/audience, three texts are chosen for discussion: Anna Leonowens’s The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870), the American musical film The King and I (1956), and the drama film Anna and the King (1999). In order to analyze these three texts, three issues are raised: first, how a text is related to its socio-historical context; second, how the factors of genders and of media influence the narrators’ “gaze”; third, whether the authors reproduce Orientalist representations of the Other. To construct theoretical framework to examine these three issues, Francesco Casetti’s theorization of communicative situation, François Jost’s concept of ocularization, and Edward Said’s notion of Orientalism (as well as Homi Bhabha’s idea of stereotype) are discussed and appropriated in the three sections, which constitute the body of this essay.

Keywords : female travel writing, communicative situation, ocularization, Orientalism, stereotype
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