Beyond Doctrinaire Narrative? ‘228 Incident’ in Novels and the Culture Politics in Taiwan
Would the history narrated in literature, especially novels, is more believable than the history narrated in official textbooks and narration? 228 Incident of 1947 is still one of the highest volatile historical issues with serious political implication in Taiwan today. While the Pan-Blue Coalition has criticized the ruling party and the Pan-Green Coalition of inciting hatred among the Chinese mainlanders and the local Taiwanese, the Pan-Green Coalition is criticizing their opponents of attempting to whitewash the brutal history of ethnic persecution. The literary construction, however, is much more complicated than the current scenario assembled by the Taiwanese nationalists. Writers with different identities present different narratives to the Incident. This event is now commemorated in Taiwan as Peace Memorial Day, but the tragedy awaiting for reconciliation is not as simple as the tension between local Taiwanese as the victims and Chinese mainlanders as the persecutors. Taiwanese separatists, Japanese expatriots, perplexed immigrants exiled after war, abjectly obedient inhabitants in colony, communist provokers, left-wing revolutionaries, victimized mainlanders rescued by conscientious natives, aboriginals with queries and sadness upon various kinds of ‘foreigners’, and individuals with different identity concerns to ethnic orthodox – reviewing the literature on the ‘228 Incident’ over the past six decades (especially realist fictions) can nurture critical reflections to the current political fundamentalism of ethnic identity rivalry, and explore more possibilities on identity formation in contemporary Taiwan.
Keywords: Novel, Cultural Politics, Identity
Dr. Kam-yee Law
Associate Professor, Department of Asian and International Studies,