The Return Subject in An Ancient Musician: Based on Jung’s Archetype Theory
An Ancient Musician is Chang Ying-Tai’s second novel. The work tells a mythical story that takes place 700 years ago in Angkor. The titular character is a musician who was born with the ability to become a snake although this ability only emerges when he has an orgasm. After which he swallows the woman who he has having sex with although he remains unconscious during the whole process. In this work, I analyze the topics of rebirth, reincarnation and transformation in the novel based on Jung’s Archetype Theory. The snake is a symbolic figure that represents rebirth and return. Furthermore, the underground cave where the musician has sex or gives birth can be related to the womb, and thus entering it is like a ritual return to the mother’s body. At the end of novel, Chang brings the story to the 21st century and reveals the true story through the dreams of an explorer and tourist. Finally, the ancient instrument is put on display in Swiss museum. It seems to imply that the truth can only be displayed within the frame of knowledge when it is dead. If people search the primary spirit by such a ritual of pilgrimage and worship, it assumes that Chang wrote a myth with the intent to make a “return path” back to her own spiritual world.
Keywords: Chang Ying-Tai, An Ancient Musician, Jung, archetype theory, return