essay 2

essay 2 - Kwok 1 Hiu Yan Grace Kwok Section 35223R Essay #2...

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Kwok 1 Hiu Yan Grace Kwok Section 35223R Essay #2 February 18, 2008 In Vain Asia, jungles, dense vegetations, heat, tribal people, invaluable treasures, unknown danger…all these elements add up to a typical blockbuster movie about adventures of white men. Under the Hollywood paradigm, adventure movies create a false impression that venturing into the jungles is a source of empowerment. However, Malraux’s The Way of the Kings provides a powerful counter example. The Way of the Kings is about Claude and Perken’s journey to Indochina. The two protagonists first meet on a ship to Indochina. Realizing their common disdain for destiny and the mutual fraternal bond, they join forces and strive to explore “The Way of the Kings” and acquire the precious bas-reliefs in exchange for financial power. Although the literary focus is on their expedition, the novel is subtly infused with Malraux’s profound insights into sexuality and eroticism. By juxtaposing the domination of the earth with the domination of sexual objects, Malraux critiques sexuality for being a social product and affecting people’s mindsets to the extent that people fetishize eroticism and pave for themselves the path to self-destruction. To comprehend Malraux’s connotations, the passage on p.144 to p.146, in particular, is worthy of analysis in that it highly eroticizes sexuality and then debunks it through illustrating Perken’s disillusionment. Although Malraux allocated a considerable proportion of time and space of the book to depicting the conquest of valuable artifacts by the two protagonists, sexuality and eroticism are the ultimate themes of the book. Their incentive to embark upon this life-threatening journey is to search for the bas-reliefs with dancing girls on them and in the end, generate profit. The
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Kwok 2 rarity of these stones, with an appraised value of “more than five hundred thousand francs” (Malraux 71), is attributed to white men’s fascination with the Orient. This obsession resonates with the terminology “commodification of otherness” (hooks 21) coined by bell hooks in Eating the Other . Asian women, being deemed the sexual and gender “Other” under the
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This note was uploaded on 01/28/2009 for the course ARLT 100 taught by Professor Thompson during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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essay 2 - Kwok 1 Hiu Yan Grace Kwok Section 35223R Essay #2...

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