Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Comparative Literature


Peter Hitchcock

Committee Members

André Aciman

Jerry Carlson

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature


Chinese Literature, Chinese Films, Cultural Studies, Modern Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwan


This dissertation aims to explore the difference in "forms" between literary works and their adapted films, and then examine the relationships between the narrative and subject matter both in written and motion-picture form. In the process, the artistic relationship to life narratives and changes in national culture and government will be explored, employing the backdrop of four important national crises in history: the cultural revolution in mainland China, post-civil war Taiwan, Japanese hegemony in Shanghai, and the 1997 return of Hong Kong. The works covered are novels from Modern Chinese literature and their adapted films, King of Children, A Time to Live, A Time to Die, and Red Rose and White Rose.

What is Chinese culture? What is a Chinese narrative? What is “Chinese-ness” or what is the Chinese national identity? In an ever-changing world that is globalizing more by the minute, a correct answer to such questions has become elusive. With more understanding of the culture, the travails of its history, and the inner conflicts experienced by the Chinese people, a window to the Chinese soul is opened up to the world.