As more of a motif rather than a theme, smell is often associated with both the homosexual attraction between the two protagonists, yet at the same time is also associated with the other aforementioned major themes. Miranda specifically smells of durian; her smell is unavoidable and penetrates not only inanimate objects, but also other humans insofar as bodies. As Paul Lai argues, "olfactory sense in a broad style offers a productive analytic for unraveling the novel’s playfulness with genre as well as its critiques of biotechnology, and species boundaries." As the novel focuses on strong, foul smells as an aspect of both past and present worlds, Lai notes that "it rescripts what Walter Ong calls our 'sensorium' the sensory apparatus as an operational complex. By privileging the olfactory sense rather than relegating it to primitive temporalities; foul orders jolt us into rethinking our assumptions about modernity and knowledge." While Lai argues for that, it is important to note the importance of smell as it pertains to homosexual eroticism. Specifically, in the Nu Wa narrative, she makes sure to note that "a girl from the coast…stank of that putrid, but nonetheless enticing smell that all good South Chinese children are weaned on. The scent calls up all kinds of complicated tensions having to do with love and resentment." Notably that the smells, and the scent here erupts from desire, tying Nu Wa and the Salt Fish Girl through a smell strongly associated with mothers that at once replaces mother’s milk and mimics it.
The main thing that I found problematic about "Salt Fish Girl" was the thoughtlessness of Miranda. Some of the things she did were extremely careless and she seemed not to think about consequences of her actions at all. After all she went through as a child, one would expect her to learn to be more cautious. Then again, maybe I'm too much of a rational and realistic person to understand people who act this way. Maybe it's not that unusual.
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Many critics agree on the homosexual elements found within , but they often disagree on how to critically interpret these areas in the text. Larrisa Lai chooses to permeate this theme through the major motif of smell that reoccurs throughout the text in various areas, most notably the "smell of salt fish" when Miranda kisses Evie, and the smell of durian that is associated with Miranda. Tamara Ho talks about the subject, noting that, "Nu Wa bifurcates her serpentine body to pursue the Salt-Fish Girl in late 1800s South China. This taboo desire between feminized Asian bodies is revivified as Nu Wa is reborn as Miranda Ching in the twenty-first century. Miranda, whose body stinks of durian, falls in love with Evie Xin, one of the 'Sonia series,' worker clones resisting their enslavement to the Pallas Shoe Corporation." According to Ho, the Sonias and Miranda articulate a desire to defy institutionally managed borders of sexuality and gender. Nicholas Burns comparatively argues that, ", offers a model by which identities of homosexual people can be understood in a way that can actively frame a trans feminist discourse." He continues on, making sure to note that trans gendered people are foregrounded in Salt Fish Girl, but are neither the sole participant nor focus.
Just like the blokes, us girls love fishing and will usually jump at any excuse to get out there and wet a line. But when there’s a competition, familiar faces to catch up with and new ones to meet, lots of fun to be had and maybe a prize or two to take home; well, that’s all the encouragement we needed. The Women That Fish committee girls and helpful fellas put on a fantastic event at the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton. Altogether a total of $20,000 worth of prizes was up for grabs and no one went home empty handed.