Analysis of a Dream of China by Ovidia Yu

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Task 2: Written Assignment
A Dream of China by Ovidia Yu
A Dream of China is written by Ovidia Yu, a Singaporean writer during the 1980s. This story talks about a woman who grew up with many stories revolving around China. The stories were told by her father who was from a wealthy family. He and his brother joined the army to fight off the Japanese in Singapore and were disowned by their father for doing so. After the war ended, the narrator’s father decides to stay in China while the brother chose otherwise. For this choice, the father feels extremely guilty throughout the years. Being convinced that China was amazing, the narrator grabs the opportunity to visit China and finds out for herself many things that differ from her father’s stories.

According to Oxford Dictionary (2010), criticism is defined as the analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work. Literary criticism therefore, means judging of literary works for both the good and bad. According to a handout of Twentieth-Century Literary Theories, there are many different kinds of literary criticism which include Formalism, Reader-Response, Sociological, Historicism, Structuralism and Psychoanalytic. Several of the mentioned theories are applicable to this text by Ovidia Yu while the others are not very suitable.

One of the literary theories that are applicable to A Dream of China would be Reader-Response Criticism. As the handout describes, reader-response criticism is a critical view that sees the reader’s interaction with the text as central to interpretation. This criticism involves the reader’s elucidation and opinion towards the text because as different readers read it, they will have expectations. From those expectations, there lies a perfect explanation in the back of the reader’s mind. The beauty of it is, nobody has the exact same opinion and that is where variety of interpretations could be established. Collaboratively, these responses could be put...
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