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Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book - Maxine Hong Kingston - Google книги
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Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the balance is not paid in full within 6 months. Minimum monthly payments are required. Subject to credit approval. See terms - opens in a new window or tab. Back to home page. So a lot of my work is appropriation. I'm going to appropriate this job and these books and this language—the American language. I'm going to appropriate this country" Skenazy Divergent languages can thwart communication, but they can also enhance it by offering an exponentially expanded vocabulary.
Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book Summary & Study Guide Description
The juxtaposition of the word and its translation enables the reader to experience the increased possibilities of the multilingual. While this passage seems a consummately Kingstonian statement of purpose, it represents a shift for Wittman towards his author's appreciation of multilingual communication, and thus towards a greater resolution of his racial identity conflicts. In his final theatrical performance, Wittman's multilingualism converges with Kingston's, and all language becomes translated and translatable, forming a true vehicle for communicative possibilities.
He tells the Yale Younger Poet, "I'm including everything that is being left out and everybody who has no place. My idea for the Civil Rights movement is that we integrate jobs, schools, buses, housing, lunch counters, yes, and we also integrate theaters and parties" This statement echoes Kingston's own views on the subject, as stated in this interview with Donna Perry: "When I say "my people" or "our people," I mean everybody.
But, more and more, I'm spreading the meaning to mean every human being on earth" This multicultural ideal is complicated in Tripmaster by the persistent question, inherent in Wittman's paranoia, of whether such inclusion necessitates an erasure of all individual distinctions. Always a consumer as well as a producer of art, Wittman first demonstrates his inveterate fear of assimilation through his antipathetic reaction to West Side Story at the beginning of the novel.
Despite the film's supposedly universalist message, Wittman notes that this is in reality a mere farce of inclusion, art masquerading as multicultural while incorporating only various permutations of white. This negative artistic example inspires Wittman to later create an artwork rooted in reality as well as theory, including as many actors as members of the community in a completely egalitarian representation.
TRIPMASTER MONKEY: His Fake Book. by Kingston, Maxine Hong.
In addition to motivating Wittman to create a performance that is true integration and not its mere simulacrum, West Side Story forces him to confront his conflicting views on racial communities. Watching the Jets' enviable cultural brotherhood but deplorable exclusivity, Wittman perceives a mirror of his own internalized questions about racial identity. Such questions consume him, to the point that he defensively rationalizes his preoccupation:.
Wittman begins as an assimilationist, maintaining a concept of "American" that abrogates all racial distinction and erases any traits that might be regarded as overly Chinese, even if they are natural and genuine ones. His initial conception of America is one of the melting pot rather than the mosaic: a place that absorbs other nationalities rather than permitting individual cultural distinctions. Wittman has a tendency to belie his own assertive denial of racial distinctions by unconsciously replicating the very stereotypes he stridently resists.
Reinforcing stereotypes is nearly a mental tic for Wittman, recurring unconsciously at every turn: Chinese are nosy 74 , Chinese have a lot of nerve 75 , Chinese have no sense of direction , Chinese don't drive well , Chinese lack orderly meal routines and proper table manners These facile categorizations directly contradict Wittman's asserted passion for inclusion, yet they prove unshakable as they serve the psychological function of enabling Wittman to group himself with others rather than emphasizing the isolation of his own individualized state.
Not only does Wittman clandestinely covet a community but, in spite of himself, he initially conceives of this community as necessarily Chinese. That Wittman suffers from a racial identity conflict is evident; more subtle is the fact that his internal crisis arises specifically from the inability to accept myriad possibilities rather than strict binaries despite his strong desire to do so.
Wittman's resistance to alternative voices manifests itself in the first reading of his play when his Japanese host Lance improvises on the friendship oath of Liu Pei, Gwan Goong, and Chang Fei. Lance's new and multinational injection into the old story causes Wittman to take great offense over another narrative voice daring to dispute his own, until Charley speaks the correct incantation and restores the oath to its original Chinese context.
Wittman, relieved at seeing the original narrative preserved, observes, "He knows. He knows. Charley is Chinese, and knows. He is a hearer of legends.
Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book Summary
And he's translating what may be the secret oath the tongs take into daylight English for all to understand" Despite this instinctive desire to preserve Chinese national heritage, Wittman is too much a paranoiac to embrace any community fully. Fearing rejection from the beautiful Nanci Lee, Wittman quickly shifts from his previously asserted belief in American identity to a denunciation of Nanci for her failure to conform to her nationality.
Wittman's ability to integrate multiple voices into his narrative parallels this process of successfully uniting multiple races into his own identity. In this task his father proves to be an instrumental guide, encouraging a view of race that celebrates unlimited inclusion. Zeppelin Ah Sing is a man unhindered by any racial constructs, freely sprinkling his speech with phrases in Hawaiian, Japanese, and Pig Latin, and showing up his son with a superior knowledge of American car mechanics.
Through Zeppelin, Kingston demonstrates how the miscegenated experience offers the advantage of expanded possibilities rather than the anxiety of liminality present in her early memoirs. As Wittman learns, an ambiguous racial background grants empowerment rather than obscurity; consequently, being colorless is a weakness, rendering one incapable of easy passage between boundaries.
The "other" race gains control by its otherness, particularly through the power of transformation and disguise. Slipping in and out of racial categorizations at will, the only identity he feels obliged to uphold is his own. Wittman, constantly avoiding any possible stereotype, feels humiliated by Zeppelin's hilarious account of his attempt to procure a free lemon with his tea.
As he gradually overcomes his own rigid mental categorizations, however, Wittman is able to note the similarities between himself and Zeppelin, conceding that his father is after all "the one [who] started me on my trips" Zeppelin's stint with the lemon possesses a certain trickster feel, an exuberant rejection of authority and specifically a play on language. Indeed, when he is honest with himself Wittman is forced to admit the beauty of his father's frugality, recalling his childhood of discovering all the free gifts available to those in the know, for "a day out with Pop was filled with presents.
The world was a generous place" One of Wittman's later "tricks" makes adroit use of his father's teachings as he slides seamlessly into the persona of a Mexican in order to protest a racist joke he claims to overhear in a restaurant. Angrily renouncing the offenders, Wittman peppers his own speech with "gringo," "raza," "sabe," using language to claim himself as one of the insulted race. Learning from his father, Wittman too is eventually able to rejoice in many transformations, gleefully adopting all the identities America has to offer.
Zeppelin thus serves as a practical model for Wittman of how to accept his extant character traits without incessantly evaluating them as functions of various stereotypes. While Wittman accepts aid from Zeppelin and sundry other assistants, doing so causes him tremendous angst. Wittman's acquisition of the "tripmaster" title is thus a gradual and laborious one, and the fact that the nickname alludes to his eventual but not fully actualized self adds another meaning to Kingston's clever subtitle. This is Wittman's "fake book" in that he is not truly its master; our narrator controls the story, and he is but a poor player who struts and frets his hour on its page.
While multivocality is Kingston's signature style, it is only with substantial difficulty that her protagonist successfully deviates from his monologic discourse. One of Wittman's greatest problems in forging an integrated narrative is that his chronic sexual insecurity and subsequent misogyny impede the potential inclusion of feminine voices.
Kingston's subtle mockery of Wittman's gender anxiety is an obvious reflection of her feminist stance; but more significantly, her ability to sympathetically depict a masculine voice represents her triumph over any misandristic leanings. After directly addressing her agitation over the Chinese subjugation of women in Woman Warrior , Kingston attempted to examine the parallel problems confronting Chinese masculinity in her second autobiographical work, China Men. The latter tells the story of men but only underscores the plight of women; in one myth Kingston has her gods decree: "This man is too wicked to be reborn a man.
Let him be born a woman" CM Thus Tripmaster 's ventriloquism, permitting the female to speak through the male, represents an important transition for author as well as character. Subtly mocking Chin even affectionately might still be considered a counterattack; but it is one appropriate to Kingston's belief in passive resistance and the importance of inclusion.
Wittman, preoccupied with being the author of every script, cannot so easily incorporate the voice of the opposite sex. When the women begin to write scripts of their own, he experiences the vertigo of the undermined playwright, terrified that his characters have taken on their own voices and rendered him irrelevant.
One can imagine that this approach does little to endear Wittman to the ladies, and indeed he strikes out with the beautiful Nanci Lee at his first opportunity. Following Wittman's monkey act, Nanci summarily flees, but in the light of Kingston's other works the silencing of women surfaces as a primary factor in this interaction.
In one of the most poignant scenes in The Woman Warrior , Kingston vividly describes her brutal attempt as a young child to force her silent female classmate to speak. In Tripmaster , Kingston appropriates the male voice who fails to listen, and demonstrates his subsequent rejection at the hands of the woman he refuses to hear. Hoping to return to his original script, he longs to recite back to her, to "educate her to a better poet Yeats than Robert Service," because, as he revealingly comments, "What's the use of having poems in your head if you can't have scenes in your life to say them in?
Blithely, unselfconsciously, she spins her own tale featuring herself as the coveted femme fatale whom Wittman has secretly pursued all evening. Tell me that was what you did" Nonplussed, Wittman plays along, but copes with this power play by mentally restoring himself to the position of authority: "Oh, at last. He'd found his woman who will talk while making love" Wittman has again lost his authorial ground, and thinks: "Damn.
She beat him to it. Outplayed again.
Now what? His rhetorical maneuver is to refuse the very rules he would have chosen: "'I think I could love you,' he said. While this statement leads, predictably enough, to lovemaking, Wittman's words are subtly subversive. Their relationship proceeds in a constant authorial struggle, one appropriately never resolved and always generating competitive creative potential. Permitting another master into the trip proves to be a crucial moment in his transition from intrapersonal monologue to interpersonal theatrical event. I would like to conclude with Lance and Charley as the men with whom Wittman reenacts the friendship oath of ancient Chinese epic, two significant contributors to his expanded sense of community and authorship.
The two vie for linguistic control, toying with one another in an interchange that appears pure sport to Lance but genuine antagonism to Wittman, who "turned green and red with envy and admiration" and then derisively addresses him with the strongest hippie insult: "Businessman" Despite Wittman's attempts to the contrary, Lance wrests control of the narrative through his surreal tale of being stranded on an isolated island, incapable of returning to America.
This story is notable not only for breaking into Wittman's monologue, but also for its replication of specific themes that form the very fabric of that monologue. Lance's primary subject is that of the outsider and outcast, of one desperately longing for a place in the United States he can never fully claim.
Wittman, hearing what is in effect his own narrative retold by his dark double, viciously resents ceding his primary position as Tripmaster: "How to kill Lance and eat his heart, and plagiarize his stories? When you want to be the star" By telling the tale of his exile, Lance has gained entrance; his narrative brings him inside the very circle from which he was once excluded.
Wittman constantly fears becoming revealed as an outcast, an emotion he recalls vividly through a memory of watching a dentist and assistant flirt over his immobile head. Lance's ability to turn his outcast status to his advantage, to become the skillful host of the party who orchestrates the mingling of disparate characters, is instrumental in Wittman's education as the tripmaster of his own show.
Charley makes his entrance at the party and in the text at the very moment Wittman is thinking of him, and is therefore introduced as a reflection of Wittman's own subjectivity. He skillfully grasps control of the narrative by retelling, reshaping, and recreating a previous cinematic text, The Saragossa Manuscript. More than a microcosm of Kingston's own project and an obvious example of postmodern metafiction, the Saragossa tale is significant for the success of its multivocality as evinced in both the narrative process and its impact. The many plot twists hinge on layers of authorship, stories within stories, a man telling of a movie telling of a book which tells of a soldier.
He begins to see the potential for unity and interconnectivity through a multivocal narrative:. Charley suggests a potential for a far less rigid concept of selfhood, one that doesn't necessarily deteriorate—and in fact, can even be enhanced—by the intrusion of others.
Participating in this moment, Wittman glimpses the potential to cross boundary lines so that even reality is a flexible construct; even personal memories can become public ones. Armed with an expanded experience, his own and those of others, he is prepared to initiate his final performance. The Wittman at the end of Tripmaster has an ambiguous future ahead of him. Unromantically but" Although the crowd celebrates this statement as indicative of a match made in heaven, because "out of all this mess of talk, people heard 'I love you,'" , the reader recognizes that Wittman's commitment is by no means assured.
As Kingston herself observed, "He's been a little bit tested—he managed to put on one show—but to truly be a realized adult man he has to continue […] He's still reacting; he hasn't created himself yet" Perry We never see this transition textually, but its effects are apparent from the opening pages of Fifth Book. Just before the opening of his story, Kingston writes:.
Kingston writes here in her own voice, autobiographically, but it is Wittman's that follows. These words are a transitional moment, part hers and part his: evidence of their shared roles as writers and listeners, "trippers and askers. He liked himself for keeping everybody he had ever met" Thus equipped with the community he began building in an earlier novel, he is prepared for his newest project: "to write—the poem, the play that would stop war" 72 , to bring a collective art into action.
Amirthanayagam, Guy, ed. London: Macmillan, He wants to include "everything that is being left out. Wittman expresses to his friends his ideas of wanting to bring back "not red-hot communist Chinese--but deep roots American theater" because they "need it" Kingston describes Wittman and his friends organizing his play as a way "to do something communal against isolation.
When Wittman finally gets the opportunity to ask the Association house if he can put on his play there, it takes some convincing, but Grand Opening Ah Sing agrees. Wittman provides a sample of his play and it is interesting to recognize that he has his characters adopt "one another as brothers and sister":. They too can build a community and their stories can multiply as well. As Wittman proclaims: "we can make our place--this one community house for benevolent living. We make theater, we make community. Wittman is expressively self-conscious and critical of himself as an artist and playwright.
His play illustrates his devotion to a literary tradition of storytelling by retelling old stories in a new yet still meaningful way. By the end of the novel, Wittman sees his play on the stage, his creation of community has come to fruition. Everyone he has met along the way is in the play, even his grandmother. Wittman is a young man and at the end of Tripmaster Monkey , he has grown in the sense that he is still in the process of developing his artistic and political identities. Yet this is only a start. He is aware that writing his play and having it performed on stage is not the end of his dream to create a community.
It cannot be "built once-and-for-all. He wants to see Chinese Americans surpass this conception of being enigmatic. What one must keep in mind while reading Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book , is that Wittman is young and still has a lot to learn about himself and life.