The King of Children by Ah Cheng

1090 WordsJul 15, 20185 Pages
Mao’s Cultural Revolution was an attempt to create a new culture for China. Through education reforms and readjustments, Mao hoped to create a new generation of Chinese people - a generation of mindless Communists. By eliminating intellectuals via the Down to the Countryside movement, Mao hoped to eliminate elements of traditional Chinese culture and create a new form Chinese culture. He knew that dumbing down the masses would give him more power so his regime would be more stable. This dramatic reform affected youth especially as they were targeted by Mao’s propaganda and influence. Drawing from his experiences as an Educated Youth who was sent down to the countryside Down to the Countryside movement, Ah Cheng wrote The King of…show more content…
With the economic benefit of getting an education virtually eliminated by the Cultural Revolution, the main characters, Wang Fu and Beanpole, sought moral and ethical meaning in education. Despite the seemingly purposelessness of obtaining an education, Wang Fu views Beanpole’s dictionary as a “sacred object” (163) and, after failing to win the dictionary from a bet with Beanpole, “copie[s] the dictionary every day...after school” (168). His motivation for copying “‘fifty thousand characters, a hundred characters a day [for] five hundred days” (168) is revealed to stem from filial piety as well as his desire to stick up for his father, Wang Qitong. Despite Wang Qitong’s immense strength, which makes him capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of rice for an entire team, he is bullied and harassed by his teammates for being mute and declares that “‘[he] is not as strong as Wang Fu, because Wang Fu can read and write” (176). Because of his adoration for his father as being “ones of the strongest men in the world” and his knowledge that “people in the team bully [his father]”, Wang Fu wants to do the right thing and “study and learn how to speak for [his father]” (176). Beanpole, upon being warned by Chen to teach according to the “unified teaching materials” (165), justifies his actions by saying that “[w]hen [the children] return to their teams, they won't have

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