When West meets East A Cultural Interpretation of the Film Anna and the King

Jianying Yue, Xiaoli Song

Abstract


Anna and the King is a biographic film based on a 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam (Thailand), which gives a fictionalized account of the diaries of Anna Leonowens. The story concerns Anna, an English schoolteacher in Siam, now Thailand, in the late 19th century, who taught the King’s children in English and western sciences. The film vividly depicts the social and political life of Siam in the 1860s, and it is also filled with misunderstanding and confrontations of eastern and western cultures and thus igniting heated discussion on the cultural differences of East and West. The film has long been banned in Thailand, for the Thailand censors think its portrayal of their beloved King Mongkut was demeaning. This article does not intend to explore whether the film is based on facts or fictions, however, it takes the film as a discourse, and tends to interpret the cultural discourse based on four of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions: Power Distance (PDI)、Individualism(IDV) 、masculinity (MAS) and uncertainty avoidance (UAI).


Keywords


Anna and the King, Siam, cultural differences, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions

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References


Danielle Glassmeyer. (2012). “A Beautiful Idea”: The King and I and the Maternal Promise of Sentimental Orientalism. The Journal of American Culture, Vol. 35, No. 2, 106-122.

Hofstede, G. (1986). Cultural differences in teaching and learning. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 11 ,301-320.

Hofstede, G., and G.J. Hofstede. (2005). Culture and organizations: software of the mind, 2nd ed. New York : McGraw-Hill.

James W. Neuliep. (2006). Intercultural Communication A Contextual Approach. 3rd Edition. Sage Publications.

Patrick Jory. (2001). “The King and Us Representations of Monarchy in Thailand and the Case of Anna and the King. International Journal of Cultural Studies. Vol. 4, No.2. 201-218.

Margaret Landon (1944). Anna and the King of Siam. Harper Perennial New York: the United States.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/journal.v7i6.1402

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[Journal of Arts and Humanities previously published by MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, MD, USA. From February 2018 this journal is published by the LAR Center Press, OR, USA]