Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

A Cross Cultural Study on the Theme of Women Salvation in Two Literary Works

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

A Cross Cultural Study on the Theme of Women Salvation in Two Literary Works

Article excerpt


Women salvation is a common depicted theme in literatures about women worldwide. Chinese novel Ju Yan and American autobiographical novel Eat Pray Love are all centered on the theme of their female characters' salvation under different cultural backgrounds. As a feminist interpretation of these two novels, this paper makes a cross cultural study on the theme of women salvation. Under the influence of gender culture and the different national cultures, the two women characters in the novels have quite distinctive experiences, a deep understanding of which may bring insight into cross cultural perception, thereby promote successful intercultural communication.

Key words: Cross cultural study; Women salvation; Ju Yan; Eat Pray Love


Ju Yan is one of Chinese contemporary writer Xu Zechen's work in 2009. It is about love lost and love regained. It is more of looking for Ju Yan's lost lover- Hu Fangyu than of looking for the lost JuYan herself. In the process of searching, Ju Yan completes her self salvation. Eat Pray Love is Elizabeth Gilbert's 2006 bestseller, whose subheading is "one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia". It is the author's autobiographical novel. What Gilbert is seeking is also the lost self. By searching for their true selves, they complete their self salvation.

As a feminist interpretation of these two novels, taking the comparative study of American and Chinese writing about women as the subject of the paper, this paper intends to interpret the texts in the theoretical framework of American and Chinese gender cultures and national cultures.


Ju Yan and Gilbert are two modern women living in different countries and social cultures. For different reasons, they began their journey to self salvation.

1.1 Cohabitation vs. Marriage

The female protagonist of Ju Yan cohabits with her lover Hu Fangyu, who is her college teacher. Ju Yan admired Mr. Hu's talents. This idol worship and Oedipus complex pushes Ju Yan into Hu's hug, who is already married. Thereafter, Hu is everything to Ju Yan. Hu's preference determines Ju Yan's preference. Ju Yan relies so heavily on Hu that she feels no need to be independent. In Ju Yan's mind, Hu was always right. His doctrines were so correct that her minor rejections can not be right. Shortly after Ju Yan moves to live with Hu, she quits her job, as the request of Hu. Ju Yan becomes a stay-at-home wife, whose sole responsibility is to serve for Hu, In Hu's plan, they would have a baby after Hu is promoted to the professor. So for a long time, Hu is the sole bread earner of the family. Ju Yan finds contentment in this life until Hu leaves without leaving any massage. Obviously, Hu is a betrayer to their love. However, for Ju Yan this obvious truth is so ruthless that she can not accept it. Thus begins her voyage of looking for Hu in Beijing. Hu Fangyu determines Ju Yan's meaning of existence. When this being defined and determined life abruptly puts to an end Ju Yan can't find her existence. This is the reason for Ju Yan's self salvation.

As an autobiographical novel, the female character of Eat Pray Love is Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author, essayist, short story writer, and biographer. She is best known for her 2006 memoirs, Eat, Pray and Love, which has spent 199 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and was also made into a film by the same name in 2010.

The past Gilbert lived in the similar sphere just as Ju Yan, a family bonds by marriage. She and her husband have been together for eight years, married for six. She is so overwhelmed with duty, tired of being the primary bread winner and the housekeeper and the social coordinator and the dog-walker and the wife and the soonto-be mother. The author does not give out sufficient reasons for wanting a divorce for fear of intrusion into her ex-husband's privacy. …

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