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8 Retributive Memories: Self-Realization in the Post-Mao Era

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Chapter Summary

Liu Kang revives and affirms the quotidian in Mao's political repertoire to underscore the concrete, the material and even "the bodily needs of the masses at the everyday level". He evokes this culture of the masses as a crucial step in the Marxist historical teleology that informs Mao's utopian vision of a CCP-led cultural transformation. One most telling instance is how the diminishing of Tietou's play time with his parents, which robs him of the caring and guidance he deserves, is paralleled with a domestic implosion that relentlessly wears down the parents' emotional bond with him. In In the heat of the sun, Jiang Wen takes the quotidian to task by means of its prosaic imagination and his juvenile antics. A case in point is Liang's conscious evocation of Pavel the Hero to put a stop to the pervasive contagion of me-only mentality contracted from unbridled entrepreneurism.

Keywords: CCP-led cultural transformation; In the heat of the sun; Jiang Wen; Liu Kang; Mao's political repertoire; Marxist historical teleology; me-only mentality; Pavel Korchagin; Tietou's play time; unbridled entrepreneurism

10.1163/9789004265356_009
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