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Interpreting the "symbolic reality" : fantasy theme analysis of the global debate on Mo Yan's winning Nobel Prize in Literature

English Abstract

Chinese writer Mo Yan’s winning Nobel Prize in Literature caused fierce discussion around the global media platforms. Complex symbolic realities were constructed from different political, historical and cultural backgrounds. Based on symbolic convergence theory, this study applied the rhetorical method of fantasy theme analysis to map the rhetorical visions and the value systems. This study analyzed five types of media platforms: Traditional official media in mainland China, Internet forum in mainland China, overseas Chinese Internet forums, mainstream English media and Internet message boards from mainstream English media. Results showed that, global fantasy chaining emerged around the five media platforms: First, Chinese official media applied the “Realize a China Dream” as the main line and the “Great Deserved Writer” as the subsidiary line to construct the rhetorical vision. Second, the rhetorical vision of Chinese official media regarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the highest authority of judging literature. Third, Chinese Internet forum and official media presented opposite rhetorical visions from the same value systems. Fourth, the oversea Chinese Internet forums presented “Betray Universal Values”, Orientalist fantasy and Anti-Orientalist criticism; Fifth, NYT had two voices. One was liberalist and the other was pragmatic. Sixth, the English Internet forum shared most fantasies of NYT, but also emerged visions from Chinese media platforms.

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Zhu, Wen Bo


Faculty of Social Sciences


Department of Communication




Mo, Yan, -- 1955- -- Criticism and interpretation

Authors, Chinese -- 20th century

Nobel Prize winners



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