The story begins when Cheng’s mother takes her son to Master Guan and begs him to take Dieyi (whose nickname was Douzi at the time) into his opera troupe. In order to be a performer in the Peking opera, one must not have any features that are abnormal or that may frighten the audience. Unfortunately, Douzi fails this test because he was born with a sixth finger on one of his hands. His mother was desperate to sell him off and thus cuts off her son’s finger with a cleaver. At this point, Master Guan agrees to accept Douzi as a disciple in his opera troupe. Master Guan notices that Douzi’s “features were surprisingly delicate; he was almost pretty” , which are perfect for playing female roles. Thus, Douzi is chosen as a dan , or the female lead of the opera troupe. He will play the female roles alongside his best friend, Xiaolou who was chosen to be his sheng, or male lead.
Starting from even the earliest scenes of the film, Dieyi’s self-identity has been slowly ripped away from him. Dieyi’s abrupt transition from living in a brothel as a prostitute’s son to becoming a well-disciplined opera singer in the troupe is marked by his mother’s brutal amputation of his sixth finger. This symbolic castration implies that... [continues]
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(2010, 12). Farewell My Concubine: Self-Identification in Context. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 12, 2010, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Farewell-My-Concubine-Self-Identification-In-Context-510137.html
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