Hong Kong’s Identity Crisis in Two Different Mourning: The Secret (1979) and “Losing the City” (1994)
- Kim, Jiyun
- Issue Date
- 문학과 영상, v.21, no.2, pp.467 - 491
- Journal Title
- 문학과 영상
- Start Page
- End Page
- This paper delves into a contrasting diptych of two allegorical works─Ann Hui’s film, The Secret (1979), and Wong Bik Wan’s short story, “Losing the City” (1994)─in terms of Hong Kong’s identity in the late 1970s and Handover period. It takes a new departure to shed light on how the two works show the different ways of mourning based on Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida’s theories, asserting that identity formation is the work of mourning: the constant repetition of ego’s death and rebirth. Freud and Derrida suggested the two competing concepts of proper mourning; one has an ultimate purpose of forgetting the lost object as depicted in The Secret, while the other is an interminable odyssey of remembrance as in “Losing the City.” As metaphorical results of these two ways of mourning, the paper further analyzes the newly born babies at the end of each work: a Freudian orphan and a Derridean mentally disabled baby. Although Derrida’s mourning makes the ego more painful than Freudian mourning does, the subject only then can genuinely grow, embracing the past, not burying it into oblivion. Therefore, the paper concludes Derridean mourning as an ideal way to deal with the identity crisis for the future of Hong Kong.
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