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Tortured Images in Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer & the War on Terror
College Literature Pub Date : 2021-04-27
Hayley C. Stefan

Abstract:

This article develops an analytic of torture to read Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2015 novel The Sympathizer beyond its narrative time surrounding the US war in Vietnam. By focusing on Nguyen’s description and uses of torture in the text, the article locates the period’s gender-, sexuality-, and race-based violence as part of an ongoing genealogy of US state-sanctioned torture, predicated upon Orientalist assumptions about pain, sexuality, and humanity. Specifically, the article reads the narrator’s forced confession and his use of staged photographs to torture others in dialogue with the 2004 photographs documenting prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Nguyen’s novel emerged a decade later amid debate on the use of torture, only one year after the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its “Torture Report,” condemning the inhumane interrogation practices at Abu Ghraib. By having his characters draw on US training materials and advisors to implement torture practices infamously replicated decades later, Nguyen demonstrates that United States-led torture is not an exception, but rather state policy. Nguyen’s novel excavates these teleologies of racialized violence in the United States for popular audiences and puts forth a sharp historical critique of US racialized violence and militarized intervention.



中文翻译:

越南庆阮《同情者与反恐战争》中的酷刑形象

摘要:

本文对折磨进行了分析,以阅读越南清·阮(Viet Thanh Nguyen)的普利策奖2015年获奖小说《同情者》。超越围绕美国在越南战争中的叙事时间。本文着重于阮文中对酷刑的描述和使用,以此定位该时期的性别暴力,性暴力和基于种族的暴力,并将其作为美国政府批准的酷刑谱系的一部分,以东方主义者对痛苦,性行为的假设为基础和人类。具体而言,该文章阅读了叙述者的强迫供认,以及他与2004年记录在伊拉克阿布格莱卜监狱中虐待囚犯的照片对话时使用舞台照片折磨他人的情况。Nguyen的小说出现在十年后的一场关于使用酷刑的辩论中,而就在一年之后,美国参议院情报选择委员会发布了“酷刑报告”,谴责了阿布格莱布的不人道审讯做法。通过让他的角色借鉴美国的培训材料和顾问来实施在数十年后臭名昭著的酷刑实践,阮表示,美国领导的酷刑不是一个例外,而是国家政策。Nguyen的小说为大众观众挖掘了美国这些种族暴力的目的论,并对美国种族暴力和军事干预提出了尖锐的历史批判。

更新日期:2021-04-28
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