Wang Anyi 's A Traditional Chinese Woman Essay

1211 Words May 13th, 2016 5 Pages
Wang Anyi’s Baotown portrays relationships that challenge what life is expected to be like in rural China. In the novel, multiple stories are told that all eventually interconnect. Two of these stories deal with the expectations that arise simply from being a man or a woman, and what that means in a relationship. One story deals with Little Jade, an orphan girl who appears at Culture’s house. As they grow older, an attraction forms between the two, but it is cast aside because of an arranged marriage put in place for Little Jade. She struggles with giving up her freedom and being forced to fit the mold of a traditional Chinese woman. The second relationship uses Second-Aunt and Picked-Up to reflect the gender expectations between a man and woman. Second-Aunt is stubborn when it comes to giving up her role as the main provider for the family, even if she is a woman. Wang Anyi shows the shift in family dynamics as a male, Picked-Up, starts to enter the picture. Wang Anyi uses Baotown to critique traditional Chinese roles through the characterization of Little Jade, the dynamics of Little Jade and Culture’s relationship, and the development of the relationship between Second-Aunt and Picked-Up. Little Jade’s personality contradicts the customary Chinese principle of women being inferior to men. She first appears at Bao Yahshan’s house as an urchin, “a child of eleven or twelve, with big round eyes” (17). She is portrayed as a dependent, begging child, who has to make sure…

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