Bound Feet and Western Dress -Chang Yu-I's Struggle with Identity

1424 Words Mar 19th, 2005 6 Pages
Chang Yu-i's Struggle With Identity Are you are confused as to where you are going in life? Do you sometimes feel like you just do not know who you are, or who you want to be? Do not worry, this is not uncommon. In fact, according to psychoanalyst Erik Erickson (1902-1994), most young people ages fifteen to twenty years of age feel the same way. Erickson, a psychoanalytic theorist, took the human life cycle and categorized it into eight stages. One such stage would be identity versus role-confusion. During this stage, adolescents begin to truly form who they are in life. They form their present off of the good and bad experiences of their past. Erickson believes that the stages in the life cycle apply to nearly everyone. It does not …show more content…
Yu-i is born into a time when China is torn between holding on to the old traditions and adopting the ways of the western world. Throughout the early 1900s, China was in political turmoil. China had to deal with the Boxer Rebellion, the revolution against the Manchu dynasty, World War I, the Warlord era, and much more. During this time of turmoil, the people of China did not know where to turn for help with their country's problems: the past or the future. So, they did both. The men marched forwards, expanding their education by learning not only traditional Confucianism, but also the modern knowledge of the western world. Women, however, stayed mostly in the past. Although there were some changes for the women of China, they were still expected to belong to their father, and then be passed onto their husband. Their job in life was to please their husband and family-in-law, and to bring sons in to the world. So it was for most women, including Yu-i. The changes that did occur for the women were small but significant. One change that occurred was the decline of bound feet. Women were finally allowed to grow their feet out. Once looked upon as a sign of beauty, bound feet, or lotus petals as they were called in China, were becoming less common. Yu-i was born into the time people had opposing views as to whether or not bound feet were still considered beautiful. When she was three, Yu-i's mother and amah began to bind her feet. So terrible was the pain,

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