Gene Luen Yang's Boxers Chapter Summary

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Gene Luen Yang offers a humanistic perspective on western imperialism in China during the late nineteenth century to early twentieth century in his graphic novel Boxers, a tragic narrative about Chinese grassroots resistance against foreign occupation in which an armed revolution ultimately fails. The novel focuses on religious identity, and cultural connections in the face of invasion. Boxers highlights the negative effects of imperialism through clashes between different religions, ideologies and power structures. Therefore, the criticism of western imperialism presented in Boxers could support a world systems theory approach to international relations because it shows to exploitation through westernization and the squandering of cultural…show more content…
The goals of the western powers were not strictly economic, but also prescribing to their ideas of Christian exceptionalism. As stated by Thomas David Dubois, “during the late eighteenth and especially nineteenth centuries, Catholic and Protestant missions from throughout Europe and North America brought their faith and civilization to every corner of the globe. This reach was facilitated by the penetration of imperial military power, leading to the frequently evoked image of the missionary arriving with the Bible in one hand and a gun in the other” (Dubois 127). This was the situation in China which eventually incites the Boxer rebellion and showdown at Peking. Yang simplifies the imperial conflicts in China through the symbolic events in Bao’s life which lead him to fight. His encounters with priests, and foreign soldiers embody the nation’s ongoing strife with westerners gaining control of their country through religious indoctrination and forceful control. The society’s ability to channel the gods through ritual embodies their own religious conviction which further empowered them to protect their culture against those who wished to displace it with
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