Theresa Cha’s Dictée as a Montage: A Visual Postcolonial-Feminist Transnational Reading

Abeer A Al-Sarrani, Taibah University, Saudi Arabia


This essay argues that Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s multi-fragmented text Dictee would be more accessible to readers on a transnational level and more easily psychologically identified with if approached as a postcolonial-feminist silent movie which portrays Korean women’s colonial experience. The cinematic techniques Cha uses in Dictee invite the reader to read/view it as a complete (un)fragmented feminist silent movie composed of pictures, photos, film shots, and scientific diagrams. The various structures, arrangements, and juxtapositions of a significant portion of the written text suggest that some pages can be considered independent graphical images. This essay also claims that the fragmented structure of Dictee, with its many photographs, diagrams, and multiple languages, intensifies readers’ psychological identification with the text. Dictee creates a reading experience in which the reader feels alienated, confused, and sometimes helpless, which is similar to the colonial experiences of Korean women. Thus, this essay presents an (un)fragmented visual reading of the text that allows readers to identify psychologically with Korean women’s colonial experience. Despite the many languages, genres, and many fragments, the visual reading of Dictee enables readers on a transnational level to link most of the fragmented pieces together, understand the text and psychologically identify with it.


Dictee, Theresa Cha, Multiethnic, transnational, Postcolonial-Feminist, Visual.

Full Text: