Mailer as the main protagonist of The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer and Wittman Ah Sing as the main protagonist of Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book by Maxine Hong Kingston represent the ambiguous rebels expressing their anti-war sentiments. The working title for this paper is “The Anti-War Revolt in Mailer and Whittman Ah Sing, the Protagonists of The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer and Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book by Maxine Hong Kingston”.
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The hypothesis of this paper is that Norman Mailer and Maxine Hong Kingston expressed their anti-Vietnam concerns through their main protagonists who are depicted as ambiguous rebels who protest against the war and determine their national identity.
The primary sources of research include the texts of The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer and Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book by Maxine Hong Kingston. The analysis of particular quotations from these primary sources would be helpful for identifying the ways through which the main protagonists find the sense of their national identity in its relation to their anti-war sentiments.
For instance, Mailer depicts an episode in which his protagonist Mailer obtains national identity. “Mailer never felt more like an American than when he was naturally obscene” (Mailer 61). Another way is chosen by Maxine Hong Kingston whose protagonist Whittman Ah Sing associates himself with a monkey king, a character from a Chinese epic novel which contributes to the character’s realization of his national identity (Kingston 32).
To make its point, the paper will start from analyzing the main issues raised in the novels under consideration, pointing out at the main similarities in the topic of anti-Vietnam mood discussed in both of them and will proceed to the analysis of the specifics of individual anti-war protests revealed in both of them. Special emphasis will be put upon the ways through which these characters achieve their national self-identification as an American and an American of Chinese ancestry in its relation to the anti-war mood.
This paper will contribute to an understanding of Whitman and his role in American culture through discussion of allusions included into the Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book. The name of the main protagonist can be regarded as a direct reference to Whitman and his well-known poem “Song of Myself”.
It means that Whitman can be regarded as a quintessentially American poet (Huntley 162). Therefore, this allusion is used to establish the relationship between the image of Whitman as a quintessentially American poet and the process of national self-identification of the main protagonist.
The secondary sources which will be used in this paper include but are not limited to Nor Shall Diamond Die: American Studies in Honour of Javier Coy by Manuel Carme and Derrick Scott and Maxine Hong Kingston: A Critical Companion by Edelma Huntley. These books are credible sources because the authors have the authority to comment on the discussed topic and the books were published after the year 2000 and can be regarded as current and contributing to the contemporary discussion.
The materials included into Nor Shall Diamond Die: American Studies in Honour of Javier Coy provide insights into the relationship between Mailer as the author and Mailer as protagonist (Carme and Scott 198). The book Maxine Hong Kingston: A Critical Companion discusses the specific ways through which the main protagonist of Kingston’s book finds and expresses his Chinese American self and an anti-war protest.
Carme, Manuel and Derrick Scott. Nor Shall Diamond Die: American Studies in Honour of Javier Coy. Valencia: Universitat de Valencia, 2003. Print.
Huntley, Edelma. Maxine Hong Kingston: A Critical Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.
Mailer, Norman. The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel/ The Novel as History. New York: Plume, 1994. Print.