Post 3: Boxers and Saints

After reading the second half of Boxers, I noticed several instances of parallel events between Boxers and Saints. I found it interesting that Gene Luen Yang’s depictions of Guan Yin in both Four Girl and Little Bao’s experiences seem to demonstrate the permanence of a uniquely Chinese identity even when confronted with western, Christian tradition. In Saints, Jesus is depicted as a hybrid of the traditional crucifix image and Guan Yin’s thousand arms and eyes. This seems to be yet another instance of syncretism, which we have discussed briefly before in class. I find this interesting because this seems to be the case for many of China’s interactions with the West. On many occasions, Chinese philosophy and religion have been merged with other belief systems.

In both graphic novels, the main protagonists believe that they are doing the work of God, however, their definitions of God differ. Although Four Girl/Vibiana works for a Christian mission, I feel that she simply uses her religion as a means to escape her family. She provides the Christian community with services (such as taking care of orphans) in exchange for room and board. However, her perception of Christianity doesn’t seem particularly genuine. On the other hand, Little Bao’s ties to Chinese tradition run very deep. He is very invested in his beliefs and goes so far as to fight those who do not agree with his beliefs. In fact, Little Bao and Four Girl act as foils to each other due to the disparate differences in their personalities.

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