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Graphic Novels for Children and Young AdultsA Collection of Critical Essays$
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Michelle Ann Abate and Gwen Athene Tarbox

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496811677

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496811677.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

“What Is China but a People and Their (Visual) Stories?” The Synthetic in Narratives of Contest in Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints

“What Is China but a People and Their (Visual) Stories?” The Synthetic in Narratives of Contest in Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints

Chapter:
(p.32) 2 “What Is China but a People and Their (Visual) Stories?” The Synthetic in Narratives of Contest in Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints
Source:
Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults
Author(s):

Karly Marie Grice

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496811677.003.0003

This chapter presents a reading of Gene Luen Yang's two-part epic Boxers & Saints. In the novel, the fierce yet compassionate female warrior Mei-wen asks Boxer Rebellion leader Little Bao, “What is China but a people and their stories? ” (Boxers 312). Within the plurality of Mei-wen's rhetorical question is the implication of a multitude of stories, leading the words to be a self-referential gesture to the dual narratives of Boxers & Saints itself. The chapter first explores James Phelan's concept of narratives of contest before looking into examples of how Yang structures the narrative to highlight the synthetic component in aid of his authorial purpose. It then reflects on the complication of Yang's choice to conclude the narrative in epilogue. The chapter closes by returning to Yang's rhetorical purpose and situating it, as well as Phelan's contest of narratives, in connection to dialectics.

Keywords:   Boxers & Saints, Gene Luen Yang, female warrior, Boxer Rebellion, children's literature, young adult novels, James Phelan, narratives, dialectics

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