IJLLL 2017 Vol.3(3): 143-148 ISSN: 2382-6282
DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL.2017.3.3.124

Representation of Culture, Gender and Identity: An Analysis of Stella Kon’s Emily of Emerald Hill

Ong Cheng Teik
Abstract—The immense popularity of the monodrama Emily of Emerald Hill by Singaporean playwright Stella Kon hinges on a multiplicity of factors from the successful and nostalgic re-enactment of the glorious days of the Peranakan (Straits-born) Chinese in Singapore to the realistic portrayal of a Peranakan Chinese matriarch and protagonist Emily. It is the latter that this study seeks to interrogate the play to analyse the construction of the various female roles and identities Emily assumes from that of a daughter to a daughter-in-law, a wife, a mother and a Peranakan Chinese matriarch. Such realistic portrayal of a multidimensional character together with the resonance of the Peranakan tradition relived in the play endear her to the audience from Malaysia and Singapore that have a sizeable Peranakan Chinese community. In the analysis, this multidisciplinary study straddles and draws on insights from the fields of sociology, post-structuralism, Confucianism and psychoanalysis in its attempt to better understand the psyche and motivation behind Emily’s skilful and triumphant negotiation with patriarchy reminiscent of the bygone days of the Peranakan Chinese community that privileged sons over daughters.

Index Terms—Confucianism, culture, female identities and roles, gender, patriarchy, Peranakan Chinese.

Ong Cheng Teik is with the School of Education, Languages and Communications, Wawasan Open University, George Town, Penang, Malaysia (e-mail: egb789@hotmail.com-LC0008).

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Cite:Ong Cheng Teik, "Representation of Culture, Gender and Identity: An Analysis of Stella Kon’s Emily of Emerald Hill," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 143-148, 2017.

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