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Thread: Gwok Jing and Yeung Gor: a dialogue between old and new China

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Gwok Jing and Yeung Gor: a dialogue between old and new China

    RETURN OF THE CONDOR HEROES was written during the 1960s...a time of cultural changes both in the West and in China. In the West, the change was primarily cultural and social: the West became more youth-oriented, and the younger generation openly questioned the morals and traditions of their forefathers. In China, the change was more political and economic, but also had its cultural and social aspects: old imperial China was giving way to modern socialist China, and ideas about gender roles, generational relationships, and intersexual relationships were changing.

    In ROCH, Gwok Jing and Yeung Gor have a bitter argument over the fact that Yeung Gor planned to marry his teacher, Little Dragon Girl. Gwok Jing, a Chinese Confucianist traditionalist to the soles of his boots, objected. In the moral view that he had been taught and had revered for his entire life, such a relationship was a moral abomination. Yeung Gor saw things differently: he believed that society's objections to what he believed to be a pure and innocent love were arbitrary and unjust, and refused to accept Confucianist tradition's restrictions on relationships.

    In a way, this argument between Gwok Jing and Yeung Gor was a metaphor for the changing times that Jin Yong wrote ROCH in. Jin Yong was from China, but spent most of his years in Hong Kong...whose society in the 1960s was very influenced by events in the West (especially Great Britain and the United States). The U.K. and U.S. went through a youth revolution that discarded old Puritan and Victorian mores about proper sexual relationships, and the resulting counterculture evolved into one of free love and free sex...which would reach an apex in the 1970s before tapering off with the rise of AIDS in the 1980s (although it has never reverted back to the puritanism of the 1950s). To some extent, this phenomenon affected the youth culture of the Far East too, with the extra monkey wrench of Confucianist tradition thrown in for good measure.

    ROCH was written during the late 1950s/early 1960s, when these then-radical ideas first began to ferment. Perhaps Jin Yong had these thoughts in mind when he wrote ROCH, and cast Gwok Jing as the representative of "old guard" China with its Confucianist morality while Yeung Gor was the avatar of an emerging modern China, influenced by modern Western ideas, including individualism and a loosening of relationship restrictions. In light of the times that their novels were written, Gwok Jing was very much a hero of the 1950s: the reliable, conformist "company man", whereas Yeung Gor was a hero of the 1960s: the rebellious, nonconformist bohemian.

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    good analysis

    Somehow I've never liked YG. he's not my hero in all aspects

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    Senior Member Dirt's Avatar
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    Hmm... Yang Guo as Leftist Revolutionary. There's gotta be a story there.

    Chairman Yang?

    Che Guo?
    Last edited by Dirt; 06-07-12 at 06:05 PM.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt View Post
    Hmm... Yang Guo as Leftist Revolutionary. There's gotta be a story there.

    Chairman Yang?

    Che Guo?
    He's more a "Che" than a chairman.

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