Department or Program
After the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911, China experienced a breakdown in governmental influence. While there were some beginnings of positive development during this time, there was also considerable chaos. Warlords, many of whom were simply glorified bandits, held jurisdiction in much of the countryside, and corruption plagued the Republic. In 1937, the Japanese launched a full-scale invasion on Mainland China, wreaking devastation across the Middle Kingdom. Nobel Prize-winning author Mo Yan’s 1986 novel, Red Sorghum Clan, relates the story of a family in a rural area in Shandong Province during this turbulent time. Zhang Yimou, an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, made his directorial debut in the film adaptation of the novel, entitled Red Sorghum. This thesis examines the two works, which seemingly have communist leanings but are actually quite subversive under the surface. I examine Mo Yan’s language and tendencies to determine his purpose, as well as the changes Zhang Yimou made to the story when making his film. I also discuss the cultural and political atmosphere of the period in which the novel and film were released.
Level of Access
Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access
Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Arts
Kohler, David FC, "Submissively Subversive: Mo Yan's Red Sorghum Clan and its Film Adaptation by Zhang Yimou" (2015). Honors Theses. 143.
Number of Pages
Components of Thesis
1 pdf file
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