A Comparative Study of the Gender Representations in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Its Chinese Translation Wing Bo Tso, PhD Candidate, Department of English, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom. Email: [email protected] 1.3. Similarities between Pullman’s Works and Chinese Mythology ABSTRACT 1.3.1. Lyra the New Eve and Nuwa This is a comparative study of the representations of women in a popular children’s fantasy series in two cultures – English and Chinese. The research will start by looking into gender stereotypes, in particular the stereotypes of female characters in popular children’s literature. Then, I will discuss the representations of female characters in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials (1995 - 2000). The research will concentrate on three aspects: (1) the subversive re-inscription of Eve (with a particular focus on Lyra, the female protagonist and her daemon); (2) the re-invention of the ‘femme fatale’ (the characters of Mrs. Coulter and Dr Malone will be examined), and (3) Pullman’s portrayals of marginalized women (gypsies and witches). The analysis will then be followed by a comparison between the gender representations in the source text and that in the target text, i.e. how and why the gender representations in the source text are translated, transferred and / or transformed in its Chinese translation. By studying the similarities and differences in the gender representations between the texts, light will be shed on the gender ideologies of both English and Chinese cultures in the contemporary. The Eve figure from which Lyra is portrayed uncannily resembles Nuwa, the female creator of humans in Chinese mythology, who is well-known in Chinese culture. Nuwa, like Eve, is the mother of all humans. The only difference is that Nuwa is not created by God or from a rib of Adam. Instead, she is the one who created heaven and earth, made humans from soil in the likeness of her own 1.1. Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Literature Gender stereotypes are a shared set of beliefs about purported qualities of females and males. like a snake or the tail of a dragon. In the eyes of the Chinese, Lyra is not just the new Eve, but also Nuwa reincarnate. The ever-changing forms of daemons may not sound new to most Chinese. Rather, it reminds us of the popular Buddhist prophet Guan Yin, who has the wisdom of seeing through the superficial surface of gender and form. Freed from the boundary of gender, Guan Yin can take on any gender and forms to save beings from sufferings and ignorance. The following is a description of the formlessness of Guan Yin by Li Ao (2001), a renowned Chinese writer and scholar from Taiwan: Common Examples of Gender Stereotypes Feminine Traits Intuitive Emotional Nurturing Sensitive Gentle Expressive Shy 觀音是無形的，他要靠「現眾身」-- 在大眾身上顯現 – 來表示 自己。所以不男不女、亦男亦女、可男可女、要男就男、要女 就女。不但如此男女自如、雌雄隨意，他還可以化為飛禽走獸 化為青龍白虎、化為你和我。(2001: 97) Masculine Traits Logical Pragmatic Realistic Aggressive Assertive Competitive Strong Masculine traits are generally regarded as more desirable than feminine traits (Eakins & Eakins, 1978), and gender stereotypes are common in children’s literature. It is found that among the prize winning children’s stories of the previous 40 years, majority of the stories showed females in passive roles as caretakers: mothers, helpers in the kitchen, and nurses. On the other hand, males led exciting lives as fighters, explorers, and adventurers (Temple, 1993). Also, in a 1973 study (cited in Fox, 1993), 85% of the main characters in storybooks for children were male. Gender stereotypes in the pretexts Eve: the mate of Adam; t h e f a i t h l e s s seductress; the cause of the Fall. main protagonist a male assistant; follower of truth; Christ-like saviour. Lyra’s daemon: Pan, the form-changing animal Femme fatale: the mischievous, mysterious beautiful woman. Mrs. Coulter: a beautiful, successful and powerful woman; a evil-doer but also a mother who is willing to sacrifice her life and everything for her daughter. The serpent: Satan Mary Malone: An ex-nun, a scientist, the bestower of knowledge; the wise instructor and adviser. Witch: Dangerous, demonic Gypsy woman: superstitious, d i r t y, t h i e f Guan Yin has no form of his / her own. Guan Yin has to be manifested in the corporeal forms of everything and everybody. Hence, Guan Yin is not male or female. Guan Yin is also both male and female. Guan Yin can be male or female. When he wants to become a man, he’s a man. When she wants to become a woman, she’s a woman. Besides having the ability to transform interchangeably as a male or a female anytime, anyplace, Guan Yin can also take the form of birds, animals and beings of any kind, including the form of a green dragon, a white tiger, even you and me. (My English translation). While some readers find the invention of daemons incredibly imaginative, Chinese readers may somehow find it familiar. 2. RESEARCH QUESTION Pullman’s subrversive re-version Lyra the new Eve: the with the the Due to the similarity between the form-changing of daemons and the formlessness of Guan Yin, the notion of free self-expression and fluid performativity manifested by the children’s daemons is perceived with a positive light and happily embraced by the Chinese translator. In the following, I shall examine how the Chinese translator manipulates the source text to make it carry the Buddhist gender notions as manifested in Guan Yin. 3.2.1. Gender Identity ‘Hidden’ through Ellipsis of Pronouns The Chinese translator seems to have the inclination to avoid and delay telling the readers explicitly the true gender of Pan, Lyra’s daemon. Not infrequently, the masculine pronouns used to refer to Pan are skillfully avoided by the ellipsis of pronouns in the target language: Example 1 Example 2 Source Text The butterfly raised and lowered his wings (1997: 23) …dipping his paw in it (1997: 24). Target Text 蝴蝶緩緩舉翅又落下 (2002:39). 將掌子伸入 (2002: 40). Back Translation The butterfly raised and lowered [ellipsis] wings slowly. Dipping [ellipsis] paw in it. 3.2.2. Genderlessness Imported through Inconsistent Translation of the Pronoun ‘it’ In the source text of the trilogy, Pullman uses pronouns such as ‘he’, ‘him’ and ‘his’ to refer to Pan, Lyra’s daemon. When the daemon’s animal form is emphasized, the pronoun ‘it’ is also used. Interestingly, in the Chinese version, the translator translates the pronoun ‘it’ sometimes as 它 (‘It’ that refers to a lifeless object; gender unspecified) and sometimes as 牠 (‘It’ that refers to an animal; gender unspecified): Example 1 Example 2 Source Text It leapt into her arms (1997: 21). It’s you (1997:26). Target Text 牠跳入她懷裡(2002:37). 它就是你 (2002: 43). The translator also unfaithfully translates the pronoun ‘he’ in the ST as 牠 (‘It’ that refers to an animal; gender unspecified): Serafina: a clever, helpful and kind-hearted witch; a strong and decisive leader. Ma Costa: a protective motherly figure; a tough fighter with a strong character. Having discussed the striking similarities between Eve and Nuwa, as well as the ever-changing forms of daemons and that of Guan Yin, now the question is: How is Pullman’s work translated in the Chinese Version? Has the gender subversion conveyed in the TT become stronger or weaker? Has Huang Jing, the Taiwanese translator of Philip Pullman’s series, consciously or unconsciously blended the influences of Chinese gender view(s) into the translated text (TT)? 3. ALTERATIONS IN THE CHINESE TEXT However, in the Chinese version, instead of translating ‘daemons’ as 惡靈 (which means ‘demons’), it is translated as 守護精靈 , meaning the ‘guardian spirits’. The notion of ‘guardians’ has been added while the negative association with the evil, together with the subtle anti-Church message is lost. The lexical shift and lost might be due the untranslatability between the two languages, but arguably it could also be due to the different ideological implications in the two cultures – i.e. because of different religious backgrounds, the Chinese translator might not be able to capture fully the anti-Christ notion that is so strong in the ST. Example 1 Example 2 Source Text (ST) Lyra would be dressed up prettily the ladies would include her in their…talk (1995: 82) Target Text (TT) 萊拉會打扮得漂漂亮亮 (2002:118). 其他女士…和她聊些…話題 (2002: 118). Back Translation Lyra would dress up prettily. other ladies will have… talks with her. Implication of the altered TT Lyra has the agency to choose Lyra has an equal relationship with other ladies. She is not begging to be ‘included’. (1995: 82) whether to dress herself up. One possible reason for the alterations could be that in the Chinese culture, ‘ladies’ are normally translated as 淑女 (su-nu), a noun originating from a Chinese classic called Shi Jing (Book of Odes, written in approximately 1000 B.C.), which bears a similar meaning to the idea of ‘ladies’ in English. However, 淑女 has more to do with the modesty, fidelity and beauty of women. In this light, it is imaginable that when the Chinese translator came across the word ‘ladies’ in the ST, s/he may not be sensitive enough to detect the underlying associations with class, social status, sex-role stereotyping, power relations a n d e v e n h y p o c r i s y, w h i c h a r e a l l h i g h l i g h t s i n P u l l m a n ’s t e x t . Primary sources: The Chinese text seems to have made use of the sophisticated system of third person singular pronouns in the Chinese language. Skillfully and subtly, daemons in the translated text are provided with a further freedom of formlessness and genderlessness similar to that of Guan Yin. 3.2.3. Daemons’ Form-fixing Interpreted and Translated as a Lamentable Loss In the last book of Pullman’s trilogy, there is a subtle description of sexual intercourse between Lyra and Will. At about the same time, readers are told that the forms of the daemons of both Lyra and Will will not change anymore. In the Chinese version, the lost of form-fluidity is magnified and exaggerated. 3.1. Anti-Church Notions Softened In Pullman’s work, daemons refer to the visible and tangible counterparts of the human soul. During childhood, a daemon can take on any form it likes. Symbolic of the gender of children, a daemon is formless, ever-changing, and free from sex-roles and stereotypes. What is interesting is that Pullman deliberately names this human counterpart as ‘daemons’, which has the same pronunciation as ‘demons’, the wicked or cruel spirits. This association between the idea of the inner soul and that of the ‘wicked spirits’ can be seen as a foreshadowing of how the free expression of human nature, multiple gender possibilities, self-discovery and knowledge are repressed and banned by God and the Church in Lyra’s world. Not infrequently, passages written specifically with an anti-patriarchal tone are translated with less strength. In chapter 5 of Northern Lights (1995), Pullman describes how Lyra is trained and forced to become a lady of high society. Her feeling of distress and discomfort towards the suppression of natural gender expression as well as the sex-role stereotyping is written in detail. In the Chinese version, however, these notions have been weakened, if not totally lost. For instance, SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Source Text: He backed away (1997: 24). Target Text : 牠就立刻退後 (2002: 40). 1.2. Gender Subversion in Pullman’s His Dark Materials 3.3. Anti-Patriarchal Notions Softened image. More surprisingly, Nuwa is like Eve and the serpent in one, for it is said that the upper part of her body is human-like, and the lower part of her body is 1.3.2. The Form-changing Daemons and Guan Yin, the Genderless, Formless Buddhist Prophet 1. BACKGROUND 3.2. Pullman’s Daemons in the Chinese Version: Guan Yin Incarnate? Example 1 Example 2 Source Text …neither daemon would change …they would want no other. (2000: 528) now. (2000:528) Target Text 他們的精靈再也無法改變了(2002: 577) Back Translation …their daemons can no longer 他們也不要別的模樣 (2002:577) …they refuse to take on other forms. change by any means. Besides symbolizing the loss of virginity and innocence, daemon’s form-fixing in the Chinese version also reflects the lamentable loss of freedom from the constraints of the senses, form and shape, as manifested in Guan Yin. Pullman, Philip. The Amber Spyglass. London: Scholastic Press, 2000, 2001. ----------. Northern Lights. London: Scholastic Press, 1995, 2001. ---------. The Subtle Knife. London: Scholastic Press, 1997, 2001. 普曼，菲力普。譯者王晶。黃金羅盤（上下冊）(The Golden Compass) 。台灣：繆思出 版社，2002。 ------。譯者王晶。奧祕匕首（上下冊）(The Subtle Knife)。台灣：繆思出版社，2002。 ------。譯者王晶。琥珀望遠鏡（上下冊）(The Amber Spyglass)。台灣：繆思出版社， 2002。 Secondary sources: Levy, Jiri. "Translation as Decision Process". Lawrence Venuti (Ed.), The Translation Studies Reader (148-59). London; New York: Routledge, 2000 Milne, P.J. “The Patriarchal Stamp of Scripture: The Implications of Structural Analyses for Feminist Hermeneutics”. A Feminist Companion to Genesis. Edited by Athalya Brenner. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd., 1993, 1997. Russell, M.H. ““Eve, Again! Mother Eve!”: Pullman’s Eve Variations”. His Dark Materials Illuminated:Cultural Essays on Philip Pullman’s Trilogy. Ed. Millicent Lenz and Carole Scott. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005. Sponberg, Alan. ‘Attitudes toward women and the feminine in the early Buddhism’, p. 3 – 36 in Buddhism, Sexuality, Gender. Ed. Jose Ignacio Cabezon. Albany: State University of New York, 1992. Squires, Claire. His Dark Materials Trilogy: A Reader’s Guide. New York, London: Continuum, 2003. Xu, Hua-Wei & Huang, Shui-Gen. 徐華威、王水根。“中土觀音變性原因探析”, 《天府 新論》，Dec 2006, 186 – 187.