Against Social Constraints: Re-reading Jane Eyre and Japanese Pink Film, Friday Bedroom

Julien/I Chung Chang, Beijing Institute of Technology, Zhuhai Campus, China, ID LLCE2017-127;    Abstract: This paper attempts to re-read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1849) and the Japanese Pink film, Friday Bedroom (1978) in a conjunction of critical approaches based on Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia and that of Barthes’ structuralist analysis respectively. The methodology will assist to examine the problems of desires to transcend the ethical boundaries in the contexts of two works. Among the discourses of humanity, topics related to sexuality have been flickering in the twilight. Class, race and sexual issues as potential problems in ancient and contemporary texts, from the west and the east alike are re-excavated and no more kept in conservatism until the society became more tolerant in the past 30 years.   Significance for new readers to rediscover from those the existing texts is not only how they shed lights to reveal a periodic social perspective toward the issues of repression but how the culture transforms or solidifies the ideology behind those texts. In this regard, heterotopia helps to fathom out such ideology of class and sexual problems in Jane Eyre while Friday Bedroom reverberates such boundaries in modern Japan. Nevertheless, the finding of the analysis is surprising: Brontë fails to emancipate her female protagonist from the sex and class struggle as Jane’s heterotopia does not transcend the social constraint imposed by the paternalistic social hegemony in the 19th-century while Konuma Masaru’s pink eroticism even extends such infallible rules of the rational ethical boundaries in modern Japan. The themes of struggles will be discussed in the crossover of the two very distinctive literary traditions.

Keywords: sexual repression, class struggle, repulsion of desires, heterotopia, pink films, structuralism

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