Analysis Of The Teahouse : Small Business, Everyday Culture, And Public Politics In Chengdu, By Di Wang

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The Teahouse: Small Business, Everyday Culture, and Public Politics in Chengdu, by Di Wang is a novel that explores how the distinctive nature of teahouses influenced the economic, political, and social spheres of Chengdu during the first half of the twentieth century. Wang begins with the assertion that there were few other institutions in Chengdu during the time period of the 1900s to 1950s that were more important in everyday life than teahouses, and that no other city in China had as many of them as Chengdu. This ubiquity and significance of teahouses in Chengdu is translated into the notion that the culture of teahouses can begin to serve as a “microcosm,” of the larger, urban Chinese society. Wang indicates that the dynamics of the…show more content…
Wang organizes these three lenses in a topical rather than chronological fashion--a detail that allows for his central argument to remain clear amidst the abundance of historical facts and sources. By organizing the book topically, Wang grants his audience with the opportunity to better comprehend and enjoy primary sources such as anecdotes, figures, and accounts related to teahouses--ultimately exposing a logical thought process that the audience can follow. Additionally, such accounts come together and result in a greatly enhanced understanding of the happenings in a Chengdu teahouse. Yet, despite organizing these complementary subjects topically, Wang does make an effort to account for the chronology of political developments. It is interesting to notice how he accounts for change over time in teahouses from the developments in the social reform of the late Qing Era, the Railroad Protection Movement, the 1911 Revolution, the early Republican period, the GMD and Chinese Communist Party, the War of Resistance, and the Civil War. As historian, Wang structures his novel in a topical and analytical fashion in which each chapter contributes meaningfully to his argument.

In the first part of the novel, Wang attempts to explain how teahouses can be viewed as the typical, small Chinese business. However, while adeptly showcasing the details of the

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