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The Chinese and American Image as Symbols in A Slow Boat to China

Zhang Xiaoling

As an early short story of Haruki Murakami, A Slow Boat to China is regarded by some scholars as a work of close connection with China due to the obvious Chinese factors in it. But after comparing the three different versions of this work as well as its intertextuality with The United States as Signs, it can be found that the American symbols hidden in this work is as important as the Chinese ones. They echo each other to constitute the image of “the other” in the text. However, the image of “the other” has a fatal flaw of symbolization, and this work, therefore, contains a strong metaphor alluding to the paranoid road Japan has taken in the process of establishing its cultural identity in modern history.