Monday, October 23, 2006

Description of the O'Mei Priestess, Mie Jue

Mie Jue: to exterminate

"Approaching, she appeared to be about forty-five years of age and quite attractive, too, if not for two long eyebrows that slanted downwards, thus making her appear odd and strange, a bit like the theatrical ghosts you see on stage who died by hanging."
-p. 583, Chapter 13.


Update on Ji Xiaofu's Rape

When Mie Jue finally found Ji Xiaofu in Butterfly Valley, Ji finally had a chance to explain what exactly happened to her. Apparently, she was stalked and harrassed by Yang Xiao for several weeks before he finally kidnapped her. She was forced to stay with him for several months. When his enemies came looking for him, that's when she was able to escape. After that, she found out that she was pregnant, and so she decided to have the baby.

When Ji asked Mie Jue if Yang Xiao and O'Mei had any previous encounters, Mie Jue explained that it was Yang who drove another O'Mei disciple to death. Upon hearing this, Ji actually felt proud of Yang, that he was able to accomplish this.

Following this conversation, Mie Jue still wants Ji to be her successor at O'Mei, but before she transfers power to Ji, Mie Jue wants Ji to do one more thing to prove her loyalty to O'Mei. That is, kill the evil Yang Xiao. Ji, surprisingly, refuses. Because of her disobedience, Mie Jue kills Ji as punishment.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rape in Jin Yong Novels

"Child, I did not intend to betray your Uncle Yin's love; at the time, there was nothing I could do, but...but then, I don't feel any regret." She (Ji Xiaofu) looked at Zhang Wuji's face and saw only a naive innocence. She thought, 'this boy's heart is like a sheet of white paper. Such matters about the love between men and women should better be kept out of his knowledge. Besides, all these details have nothing to do with our current troubles."
-p. 551, The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre Saga
Original Chinese text can be read here.

Currently, there is a discussion at a prominent discussion forum for wuxia novels here.

The main scope of the discussion is centred on the observation that Jin Yong likes to write about rape, or sexual violence against women. Some prominent examples of this include Ji Xiaofu's supposed "rape" by Yang Xiao in The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre Saga, as well as Xiao Longnu's rape by Yun Ziping in The Return of the Condor Heroes.

I personally have not read RCH, so I don't know how Jin described Xiao Longnu's rape, but I have read Ji Xiaofu's account, and in this case it is most ambiguous! I think the question with regard to Ji Xiaofu's rape shouldn't be whether or not it happened. The question is WHAT does she not regret? Her daughter, the result of the supposed "rape" is named "no regrets." Yang Buhui: Yang is her father's surname, and her first name is Buhui.

When she says that she doesn't regret it, does that mean that she consented? Or, does it mean she doesn't regret having her daughter and raising this daughter? Or, does it mean that she doesn't regret breaking away from O'Mei and her family? By breaking away from her social and filial obligations, she escaped having to be married to Yin Liting, which would have resulted in another rape because Jin makes it clear in the novel that Ji Xiaofu never loved Yin Liting, that their marriage was arranged without her input. Perhaps what she doesn't regret is being able to escape such a fate, and live her own life away from the politics, hipocrisy and bigotry of the many Wulin organizations and sects.

I am interested in finding out if she had any opportunity to elope with Yang Xiao, which is the logical thing to do if she loved him and consented to have sex with him. This way, they could raise their daughter together. But, the other side of the question is, what kind of man is Yang Xiao? Was he a playboy? Was he being unfaithful to Ji Xiaofu? This is how some films have portrayed him, making Ji Xiaofu appear weak and gullible. I'm waiting to find out one way or the other.

This issue of rape in Jin Yong's novels is a contentious issue for further examination on how the struggle between women and power are portrayed in wuxia literature.