Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Scripts and Minoritarian Subjectivity: Examining Ambivalence and Asian Diasporas in Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, The Bad, The Weird, Kim Fu’s For Today I Am a Boy, and R. Zamora Linmark’s Rolling the R’s Public Deposited

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  • This thesis explores the roles of scripts in shaping minoritarian subjectivity through Kim Jee-woon’s film The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008), Kim Fu’s novel For Today I Am a Boy (2014), and R. Zamora Linmark’s novel Rolling the R’s (1995). In all three works, diasporic characters of Asian descent express ambivalence towards hegemonic forces and mimic existing film and television scripts that uphold whiteness and heterosexuality. However, rather than becoming whitewashed from mimicking those scripts, these characters retain their minoritarian subjectivity as exiles and racialized queer subjects. I argue that scripts do not necessarily trap minorities into normative structures, but instead the faithful reenactment of scripts through remaking films and mimicry can be used to undermine hegemonic forces when used to express Otherness and diaspora. In my first chapter, I link The Good, The Bad, The Weird’s ambivalent tone with melancholia related to the Korean diaspora. Using David Eng’s work on melancholia, I reveal how the film’s titular characters treat colonized Korea as a lost object in scenes where Korea is discussed or presented through flashbacks. Drawing from Constantine Verevis’ Film Remakes, I also explore how The Good, The Bad, The Weird is a transformed remake of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) and how changes to the latter’s semantic elements help incorporate the Korean diaspora into the former’s narrative. These changes demonstrate how cultural contexts could be transfigured between works to illustrate minoritarian subjectivity. In my second chapter, I examine how and why For Today I Am a Boy and Rolling the R’s racialized queer characters mimic white heterosexual scripts while also retaining their alterity and undermining those scripts. I pair Sara Ahmed’s The Cultural Politics of Emotion with For Today I Am a Boy to outline ways heterosexual scripts shape queer bodies through affect. I also use Homi Bhabha’s model of colonial mimicry to argue that white heterosexual scripts will partially fail when the Other tries to mimic normative film and television scripts. In my analysis of Rolling the R’s, I argue that the novel presents ways racialized queer subjects could disrupt normative spaces, appropriate white icons, and express same-sex desires through mimicry. Because these three works differ in form and relevant theories, this thesis presents a wide applicability of scripts in analyzing diaspora, melancholia’s ambivalence, and minoritarian subjectivity.
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