A Woman 's Greatest Duty Is The Bear A Son

1166 Words Apr 21st, 2015 5 Pages
Morgan Kilmartin
History 50
Section 1
04/21/15
Women in the Family
Women have had changing roles in every society for centuries. Those who were born in ancient China lived oppressed lives under the constant pressure to live and work by the rules and expectations set by society around them. They were given nearly the same rights as a servant. Things like having a say in how much work they had to do throughout the day, why they had to bind their feet, who they were set to marry, and so on. Women were expected to do all the household jobs such as cleaning, cooking, preparing ancestral offerings and child rearing. Confucius taught that “a woman’s greatest duty is the bear a son.” These roles that were set for women in ancient China are very important to analyze because they allow us to learn from the past and see what must be done in order to not make the same mistake twice. Two articles in Discovering the Global Past, “Mother-in-law Is Cruel” by Zheng Xie and “The Ways of Confucius and Modern Life” by Chen Duxiu, offer this crucial historical insight on women’s roles in family and society in ancient China. Although their means of conveyance vary, both authors portray the idea that by keeping women oppressed, society as a whole will become stagnant which in turn will lead to something that is more inhumane than what is currently present.
In the poem “Mother-in-Law Is Cruel,” a very clear image is painted by the powerful words in which Zheng Xie uses to describe the treatment of…
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