Wild swans essay

wild swans essay

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The miscarriage that results does not, however, diminish the fanaticism which induced it, and it is not until his idealism has been totally shattered that he begins to realise the pain endured for its sake. This tragedy of collapsed idealism and disillusionment lies at the heart of Wild Swans. Changs parents dogged loyalty is rewarded by punishment and humiliation when the fear, through which control was maintained, infects the movement itself in the form of paranoia and suspicion. Jung Chang herself moves through the stages of allegiance, confusion and eventual disillusionment as the true nature of maoism begins to reveal itself. Her father, now a victim of his own inflexibility, dies tormented, while jung Chang and her mother find ways of using their experience to forge new lives for themselves. In fiction, such victory over evil might be considered improbable.

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Born just a few decades apart, their lives overlap with the end of the warlords regime and overthrow of the japanese occupation, violent struggles between the kuomintang and the communists to resume carve up China, and, most poignant for the author, the vicious cycle of purges. Jung Chang has said that past her intention in writing Wild Swans was to show how the Chinese people, and in particular the women in her family, fought tenaciously and courageously against impossible odds. The book is, indeed, a testimony to the strength and determination of herself, her mother and her grandmother and their resourcefulness in recreating themselves time and again in the face of suffering, humiliation and disillusionment. Personal and historical stories interweave and the stories of these women and their families act as a lens through which we gain further insight into the turbulent history of twentieth century China. One such insight involves the treatment of women in Chinese society through the years. There are no stunning revelations here but there are many horrific reminders. The grandmothers early life reveals a litany of horrors, such as the torture which was the custom of foot binding and the slavery and hardship that was the lot of the concubine. Changs mother endures a different kind of hardship, one born of her husbands unbending principles and her own loyalty to a warped ideology. At eighteen, and despite the fact that she is pregnant, she is forced to walk a journey of one thousand miles through five mountain passes, while her husband, a senior officer in the communist guerrilla army, rides in a jeep. Wild Swans or any similar topic only for you. Order now, he insists that she must walk lest he be accused of favouritism.

However, with the type crumbling of the Chinese state, confucian principles that organized society were challenged and replaced by new economic opportunities for both men and women. Instead of relying on the family patriarchal head, children could work to support themselves in the emerging industrial market. Furthermore, with the establishment of the peoples Republic of China, men and women were encouraged to solely become workers of the communist party, giving up domestic roles as companions or parents. With the cult of Chairman mao and the cultural revolution, communist control of gender ideals manipulated men and women into becoming masculine and militarized. Wild Swans: Three daughters of China is a memoir of three generations of Chinese women from Imperial China through and beyond the cultural revolution. Changs grandmother was a warlords concubine. Her gently raised mother struggled with hardships in the early days of maos revolution and rose, like her husband, to a prominent position in the communist Party before being denounced during the cultural revolution. Chang herself marched, worked, and breathed for mao until doubt crept in over the excesses of his policies and purges.

wild swans essay

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Consequently, ideas about male and female sexuality were suppressed. For example, jung Chang washes the underwear of army servicemen without thinking any sexual implications. Under the pressure to devote themselves to mao and to act as good communists, women suppressed their femininity and opted to act like men. By doing so, both men and women gender roles shifted to serve the violent gps aims of Chairman mao. In three generations, gender relations transformed women from servants of men to full independent business workers who finally became soldiers of the communist state. Under Confucian-modeled families and traditional society, women could support themselves only by serving male figures, who worked in the public arena. Restricted to the domestic sphere, women lived as tools for promotion or pleasure to their respective father or husband.

For example, jung Changs defined her purpose of life as a child as seeing Chairman mao. Furthermore, under this newly established Cult of mao, this generation grew up expecting to fight class enemies. As a result, during the cultural revolution, both genders were encouraged to smash up the four olds which lead to the violent destruction of museums and the persecution of intellectuals or old class enemies. As Chairman mao strived to persecute possible threats to his reign, he also guided Jung Changs generation to follow his maniacal policies. In 1965, under Chairman maos command, children across China followed the new law to remove all grass from lawns and eliminate all flowers, which were seen as bourgeois. Despite defying logic, jung Chang suppressed her instinct to question Chairman mao and accepted his word as law. Furthermore, once Chairman mao sought a violent solution to his political threats, the new Red guards who followed Chairman maos commands became the militarized ideal for both genders. Women were encouraged to be both strong and muscular and perform physically demanding jobs that were typically done by men. Encouraged to be muscular and criticized for displaying any femininity, women were expected to fulfill the new ideal of becoming like men.

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wild swans essay

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Instead of building family relationships, party members were ordered to work and live only for the benefit of the Chinese state. As a result, instead of acting as mothers, women were persuaded to give the care of their children to government nurseries. Discouraged from taking care of domestic responsibilities, housewives were portrayed as failing to provide a revolutionary example for their childrens development. Consequently, under communist policy, both men and women lost their domestic roles as a companion and parent. For example, bao-qin was criticized for simply showing physical affection towards her children, which was seen as a sign of divided loyalty.

Instead, men and women were encouraged to function only in the public sphere as workers, in order to demonstrate supreme loyalty to the communist party. In other words, men and women were expected to obey every communist rule or suffer the consequences, effectively and simply becoming workers of a communist state. Furthermore, as the communist party mounted its war against perceived enemies audison of the state, gender roles became increasingly masculinized and militarized. During the cultural revolution, femininity was rejected as bourgeoisie and new masculine-looking women were idealized. In response, young girls of this generation cut their hair short and wore baggy mao suits. Devoted to following Chairman maos sayings, both genders centered their roles on serving Chairman mao.

Reflecting on his own life, wang laments that he had let her walk hundreds of agonizing miles, and had not given her much sympathy in her crises. he had always given the party and the revolution priority over her. Husbands were encouraged to put the so-called needs of the party first, which often meant refusing on moral principle the best treatment for their loved ones. Consequently, instead of taking the doctors advice to send bao-qin to a better hospital, wang refuses this preferential treatment while his wife suffers possible complications with holes in her lung. In addition to accepting their husbands harsh shift in priorities, women were pushed to put the needs of the party first.


As a result, anyone who attempted to join the communist party had to explain behaviour that demonstrated putting the family first. Not only denounced for making clothes for her baby, bao-qin is questioned for using her husbands leftover hot water, which was reserved for party members under communist regulation. Consequently, in this generation, following communist rules and appearing to be the best communist became the new enforced ideals of both genders. Furthermore, communist party policy shifted to mediate and control all relationships between family members. Besides asking for permission to talk about love, couples were discouraged from spending time together and worked full days from. M., seven days a week.

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Lius funeral, bao qin was able to support herself by enrolling in a new teacher training department. Reducing patriarchal control, industrialization allowed children to head to schools and factories, no longer needing to rely on their parents for education and work. As a result, business while foreign powers challenged intellectuals to question traditional models of society, gender relations shifted to include a growing desire for gender independence. However, with the establishment of the peoples Republic of China, gender relations shifted back to womens obedience to her husband and to a new player, the state. As part of their party policy, communists strictly book enforced the ideal that women must expand their interests beyond the domestic sphere. Under the new guidelines for revolutionary marriages, both men and women were ordered to serve the state first and put their own needs after. As a result, wang, bao-qins husband, continuously believes he is moral and righteous by denying his wifes requests and refusing to treat her favourably.

wild swans essay

Furthermore, instead of arranged marriages that only benefited the database patriarchal head, intellectuals pushed for marriages based on love which would create happy and productive citizens. In addition, based on her mothers experience, bao qin rejects arranged marriages and intends to only marry for love. After hearing of two concubines who drug cousin Hus mother to feign adultery and gain the favour of her husband, bao qin is enraged by the historic powerlessness of women, the barbarity of age-old customs, cloaked in tradition. with the broad shift from tradition as well as her own personal experience, bao qin rejects traditional gender roles and seeks to create her own. Furthermore, as China became divided into separate spheres of influence and opened to international markets, British and American industrialization brought new ideas of opportunities for women, challenging established gender relations. With new economic opportunities and education, women could become self-reliant, broadening their choices and their role in society. Consequently, after disobeying her parents command to attend.

temporary sexual services to general xue. In exchange, yu-fang must stay loyal to an absent husband who leaves for six years without notice while living isolated in a strange home, bribing her servants to buy their trust. While the male authority figures benefit from her marriage, yu-fang gains nothing yet cannot complain. Under a confucian model, women lived only as objects to benefit men in a patriarchal society. As a result, marriage and the transaction of women became another means for men to promote their own ambitions. However, with the encroachment of foreign spheres of influence and the weakening of the Chinese government, young individuals searched for ways to modernize china, challenging traditional patriarchal society and its established gender relations. Under the new Culture movement, intellectuals argued that traditional Confucian models wasted Chinas energy and talent in pleasing the patriarchal family head. Instead of working to improve chinas economic and military resources, young individuals were confined to serving their parents. As a result, Chinas patriarchal system was now seen as an obstacle to both freedom and national reform and recovery.

During the late qing dynasty, chinas patriarchal society assigned each gender a specific function which positioned women as servants for men, and structured marriage as a transaction to achieve social progress. Based on tradition, occupations were largely determined by sex: men dominated the public sphere while women controlled the domestic sphere. Confined to the domestic sphere, women followed the confucian virtue of serving the male authorities in their lives, first serving their father then serving their usband. Taught to be obedient daughters and wives, women were determined useful solely by attracting their assigned husband. Consequently, daughters were sent into arranged marriages in order to contribute and improve their familys social standing within the community. As a result, yu-fangs father forces his daughter to become a concubine to general xue in order to elevate his social position. With a grand wedding procession, yu-fang proves her worth and feels as if she had gained prestige and esteem. There had been nothing like this in Yixian in living memory.

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In Jung Changs novel, wild Swans, the three women grandmother yu-fang, mother bao-qin and daughter Jung Chang exemplify the expected gender roles of each generation. I will argue that Confucian society presented few economic opportunities for women to support themselves and thus positioned women to become revelation the exploited tools of men. However, with the encroachment of foreign powers and the weakening of the Chinese state, the next generation was forced to challenge the confucian principles that created a patriarchal model of society. We will write a custom essay sample. Evolution of Chinas Gender Relations in Jung Changs Wild Swans or any similar topic specifically for you. In the interest of saving China, the new Culture movement aimed to adopt foreign practices that encouraged women to migrate into the public sphere as independent and self-sufficient workers. In addition, i will argue that communist party policy further moved to transform both women and men into workers of the public sphere, though at the expense of both genders losing their domestic roles as a companion and parent. Finally, under the cult of Chairman mao and the cultural revolution, both genders became militarized and used as tools of the state to fight so-called political enemies and threats to the state.


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