The Man Awakened From Dreams Analysis

Decent Essays
The Man Awakened from Dreams 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…show more content…
His father invested in Liu’s education so that “he would be an honor to his family” and learn to become a better man. Throughout Liu Dapeng’s life, though, he struggled with the tension of “education as a means to social mobility” versus “education as a for of moral indoctrination” (25). He believed that his education would bring him honor to access government office, but his primary goal was live out the Confucian morals he studied. Liu believed that “nothing was more important than moral principles and filial piety was the most important moral principle of all” (52). He placed his relationships with his parents above all else and aimed to serve them, just as a government official should behave toward the emperor. This commitment to practical studies caused him to fail the examinations multiple times and to be teased by his peers, but it eventually served him well. In 1905 when the Qing government abolished the examination system, Liu’s “hopes for an official career [were] completely vanished” (86). Even though Liu eventually loses his job as a tutor, he is offered other opportunities “as a result of his reputation” (188). Since Liu was a respected man with “Moral integrity (119), he was asked to sort out the finances of the Shimen mine. He continued involvement in business through 1920s, which suggests “that the Confucian self-presentation of businessmen continued well after such
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