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The Ideology of “Swings between Reality and Illusion” in Mo Yan’s Pow!

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According to Angelica Duran and Yuhan Huang, Mo Yan’s “artistic works” are “towering within the literatures of the world.” His novel Si shi yi pao (Pow!, 2012) offers one of the clearest recent examples of what Shelley W. Chan calls Mo’s “postmodern playfulness.” In his afterword to Pow! Mo says that the story “gives way to an improvisation that swings between reality and illusion,” thus suggesting the notion of “hallucinatory realism” as a “blending” or “merging” of the illusory and the real. This article examines the ideology—that is, the class politics of consciousness—of this swingy postmodern storytelling, taking a critical view of Mo’s playfully bold assertion: “I’ve always taken pride in my lack of ideology, especially when I’m writing.” I argue that the swinginess of “imagination” in Pow! embodies what Marx calls a “happy confusion” that (re)articulates the “post”-class doctrine of “combine two into one.”

Affiliations: 1: The School of Foreign Languages, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Lanzhou 730070, China


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