Once the novel comes to an end, we notice clearly the way Wang Lung changed. In the beginning of the novel we learned many ancient Chinese traditions by observing Wang Lung as a simple peasant, but as he becomes a wealthy landowner his life collapses. This rapid change of social class makes it difficult for anyone who intends to keep their traditional values until their death. This fantastic novel by Pearl S. Buck reminds us that we can never forget our traditional values, because if that happens your life will collapse just the way Wang Lung unfortunately
In The Man Awakened from Dreams, Henrietta Harrison describes the life of Liu Dapeng through his diary entries. Highlighting one man’s story allowed the author “to focus on the details of everyday life” in order to “see how social structures and ideologies interacted in practice” (7). Liu lived from 1857 to 1942 and began his diary in 1891, so information about Liu’s childhood and education is dependent on his memories from that time. Harrison depicts Liu as a conservative scholar and argues that his education and Confucian beliefs provided him opportunities even among the modernization changes of China. Harrison also explores the negative impact of modernization on rural areas by recounting the economic and
In the novel A Daughter of Han by Ida Pruitt, the readers are taken through a journey of one woman through her life’s highs and lows. Through the eyes of Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai, readers can truly understand the life of a working woman during this time period. Although life may not have been easy at times, Ning Lao shows the determination and passion she had for her family and for their lives to be better. The life of a working woman is never an easy life but adding in the social rules and opium addiction that effected each part of Ning Lao’s life made it much more difficult.
In 2000, Dai Sijie wrote a semi-autobiographical novel named Balzac & The Little Chinese Seamstress. This novel discusses the political and social reforms of the Chinese Government during the re-education era. The re-education program sought to regulate the country of the distinct classes that it previously had. Educated individuals (especially youths) would get sent to villages where they would be instructed by peasants on how to do manual labor. Any type of advanced knowledge, such as literature and scientific notions, were banned to be shared or even spoken in these towns. The Narrator, a seventeen year old boy in the re-education program, knew from the beginning of the novel that he didn’t belong in the program. On pages 142 through 144, the Headman has come to the Narrator and his friend, Luo, in urgent need of someone to fix his toothache. Luo was initially against the procedure, but the Headman threatened him to do it; Luo and the Narrator had given in. Throughout this passage, the Narrator experiences a drastic change of emotion toward the authorities in his community. He quickly shifts from feeling shocked and hesitant about the situation to viewing those who surround him with a sadistic perspective. This dramatic change of emotion reveals the Narrator’s hidden desires to rebel against the re-education program.
The Sun of the Revolution by Liang Heng, is intriguing and vivid, and gives us a complex and compelling perspective on Chines culture during a confusing time period. We get the opportunity to learn the story of a young man with a promising future, but an unpleasant childhood. Liang Heng was exposed to every aspect of the Cultural Revolution in China, and shares his experiences with us, since the book is written from Liang perspective, we do not have a biased opinion from an elite member in the Chinese society nor the poor we get an honest opinion from the People’s Republic of China. Liang only had the fortunate opportunity of expressing these events due his relationship with his wife, An American woman whom helps him write the book. When
The practices of a collective society such as the one in this book disregard all belief in the individual. By doing this, the society and its leaders brainwash the people into having no personal priority or authority. Everything is done with the betterment of the entire group in mind, no sense of self involvement. Their life is fated in almost every
Mistakes are often essential factors of one’s wisdom and future success. People can always gain precious life lessons from their flaws, which resemble the pebbles that make a stable and perfect road. In the novel Typical American written by Gish Jen, the protagonist, Ralph Chang, makes a mistake in which he shifts and tortures his original American dream to a false and ‘poisonous’ dream that causes his ultimate familial, moral and financial collapse; in other words, he fails to create a ‘China’ with traditional values in America. However, he actually becomes more mature after gaining a valuable lesson from his flaws. Because of his excessive pride and confidence, Ralph is considered a tragic hero as he commits the tragic flaws that lead to
An old Japanese proverb says “The nail that sticks out must be hammered down”. Like ancient times, the pressures of conformity have been weighing down on society’s individuals since the dawn of civilization. People of different race and religion were ostracized and persecuted, providing an example of what would happen to those who dared to differ from society’s ideals. Moreover, conformity bred stereotypes, family ideals, and gender roles. Men and women had to act a certain way or face consequences, even if those social ideals were unfair. However, people have tried to break this mold, yet it is futile. Even in modern times, individuals are still weighed down by society’s expectations. As seen in Richard Linklater’s movie, Boyhood, Mason Evans
Chinese constructions of Masculinity have been redefined accordingly to the political events. The concept of ‘wen-wu’, currently serves as an overarching pillar of what is currently expected of men in Modern China. By placing less emphasis on the ‘Wu’ and more on the ‘Wen’ we can see these concepts incorporated and adapted to the modern perception of masculinity through the leadership and teachings of Mao Ze Dong, during the Cultural Revolution. At the same time, more popular representation of Chinese masculinity, accommodating the lens of westerners, is the ability to excel in martial arts which is popularly portrayed by Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. The roles they play, interrelates by exceling both in the physical aspect, ‘wu’ and their philosophical intellect of ‘wen’. Since the cultural revolution, China places emphasis on the ‘Wen’, immediately becoming the ideal construction of men, as they are more aware of their values and how they are presented to the world. Unlike Ancient China, where the ideal man was a warrior, Chinese entrepreneurs, male of high intellect who is conscious of the Chinese way of living and has strong desire to lead the world’s economy, serves as the modern definition of masculinity. Despite this expectation, although China continues to grow their military and economic power, the
The Death of Woman Wang, by Jonathan D. Spence, paints a vivid picture of provincial China in the seventeenth century. Manly the life in the northeastern country of T’an-ch’eng. T’an-ch’eng has been through a lot including: an endless cycle of floods, plagues, crop failures, banditry, and heavy taxation. Chinese society in Confucian terms was a patriarchal society with strict rules of conduct. The role at this time of women, however, has historically been one of repression. The traditional ideal woman was a dependent being whose behavior was governed by the "three obedience’s and four virtues". The three obedience’s were obedience to
Family loyalty in China has had a tumultuous past filled with fluctuation between remaining loyal to the state, yet also remaining loyal to blood relatives. In the autobiography that also serves as a biography, Wild Swans, by Jung Chang, this is seen. The book, which outlines the biographies of the author’s grandmother and mother, as well as her own autobiography, gives an interesting look into the lives of the Chinese throughout the 20th century. This book is beyond eye opening, and is truly a raw glimpse into the daily lives of women throughout China, struggling with situations that no human should ever be thrown into. I loved this book and was truly scared about the world that it opened me up to. The book does many things well, but also has its faults. The author consistently and clearly exemplifies the social hierarchy that consumes China, as well as its obsession with cultural stagnancy. The author also gives intense imagery that thrusts the reader into the scene, and creates a new reality showcasing the truths of China. Although both of those things take main stage in the book, there are a few weaknesses in the book. One, asking the question of how she had such clear anecdotes on her grandmother and mother’s life, how did she have such intimate details? The second shortcoming that Jung Chang had a subjective view of China, partly being that she loves China despite the cards it has dealt her. Her life was not short of hardships, but her family was typically
“It was not easy to live in Shanghai” (Anyi 137). This line, echoed throughout Wang Anyi 's short piece “The Destination” is the glowing heartbeat of the story. A refrain filled with both longing and sadness, it hints at the many struggles faced by thousands upon thousands trying to get by in the city of Shanghai. One of these lost souls, the protagonist, Chen Xin, was one of the many youths taken from his family and sent to live the in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. Ten years after the fact, Chen Xin views the repercussions of the Cultural Revolution internally and externally as he processes the changes that both he, and his hometown have over-gone in the past ten years. Devastatingly, he comes to the conclusion that there is no going back to the time of his childhood, and his fond memories of Shanghai exist solely in memory. This is in large part is due to the changes brought on by the Cultural Revolution. These effects of the Cultural Revolution are a central theme to the story; with repercussions seen on a cultural level, as well as a personal one.
All through time, successive generations have rebelled against the values and traditions of their elders. In all countries, including China, new generations have sought to find a different path than that of their past leaders. Traditional values become outdated and are replaced with what the younger society deems as significant. Family concentrates on this very subject. In the novel, three brothers struggle against the outdated Confucian values of their elders. Alike in their dislike of the traditional Confucian system of their grandfather, yet very different in their interactions with him and others, begin to reach beyond the ancient values of Confucianism and strive for a breath of freedom. Their struggles against the old values
Lao Dao also realizes that he is not able to move up in class due to a lack of education for him. This furthers Lao Dao’s feeling of estrangement toward a society he’s apart of because he recognizes that he does not matter, nothing more than a rounding error. Dr. Hao is emphasizing that the lower classes of China do not feel significant to the progression of China because they weren’t given equal opportunity of education as the higher classes. Thus, this allows them to not feel united with the rest of China. I agree with Dr. Hao’s stance on education inequality because it sheds light on the complex problem of the detachment of citizens within a society which I believe to be true.
People are the sum of their different traits, but too often, we tend to define each other by one specific quality. Dai Sijie’s 2001 publication Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress demonstrates this in the form of two young men and how they consider their female companion. The Narrator and his friend Luo are being reeducated in a village in Communist China. Along the way, they both become captivated by the tailor’s daughter, the Seamstress. However, they only see her for her physical beauty, and for her potential to become “civilized”. By the novel’s end, the boys are forced to reassess their narrow views and come to recognize the Seamstress as her own multifaceted person.