Heroes of the Chinese Wuxia Tradition Essay

Pages: 3 (887 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Literature

Chinese Wuxia

Prompt #2

The female protagonists of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill (2003-2004) and Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2004) are similar in that both are skilled fighters and reflect the wuxia theme of the warrior protagonist. Additionally, the two characters each deal with the subject of destiny, marriage, and the family. Despite these similarities, however, the two characters demonstrate vastly different sensibilities, and the two films end in vastly different ways. In Kill Bill, the female character ultimately defeats the male, while in Ang Lee's film the heroine is not able to defeat her male opponent. Where Kill Bill ends with a subversive resolution in which the protagonist absolves herself of any submission to male authority, the protagonist of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ultimately sacrifices herself to the edicts of the Confucian moral code.

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Jen, the protagonist of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is a strong female character; she has a deep knowledge of Wudang martial arts and she displays her acumen in lengthy duels with Shu Lien and Mu Bai, the masterful Wudang warrior. Her determination is firmly established by the fact that her knowledge of Wudang technique is mainly self-taught and was borne solely of her own desire (her family would not have approved of her martial arts pursuits.) the vast discrepancy between her dream role as a warrior and the monotonous existence that her family plans for her coheres with the wuxia trope of the supernatural supplanting monotonous everyday life. However, while she displays her skill and fortitude repeatedly throughout the film, Jen is ultimately not able to defeat Mu Bai, signifying that the female character is unable to supplant the preexisting gender hierarchy.

TOPIC: Essay on Heroes of the Chinese Wuxia Tradition Assignment

The very existence of a female film protagonist revises the narrative convention of classical cinematic narration, which is characterized around a goal-driven male protagonist, with the narrative trajectory progressing toward the realization of his goals. Certainly, Jen represents a goal-driven hero and in this regard she confuses the binary gender roles of Confucian culture; her own desire to be a Wudang warrior contrasts with her family's plans for her, which involves an arranged marriage.

The Bride (Uma Thurman), the heroine of Kill Bill, is similar to Jen in that she is driven by her own desires rather than by those imposed on her by her family or societal convention; her strong drive and marital aspiration is designated through her archetypal moniker. She undergoes numerous dangerous encounters in a quest to kill those who ruined her wedding ceremony, and her singular devotion is analogous to that of Jen. However, the Bride also represents the inverse of Jen since she aspires toward marriage while Jen wishes to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Heroes of the Chinese Wuxia Tradition."  2 August 2012.  Web.  16 January 2022. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/heroes-chinese-wuxia-tradition/4923087>.

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"Heroes of the Chinese Wuxia Tradition."  Essaytown.com.  August 2, 2012.  Accessed January 16, 2022.