Wild Swans Analysis

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In the novel Wild Swans author Jung Chang gives the reader a glimpse of China’s history through the eyes of her family throughout the span of three generations. She guides the reader by giving insight to the history of China through her grandmother, continuing with the mother and ending with hers experiences . Although these three women lived through different generations in China, they all felt and experienced pain and it is captured in their stories. These three women sought to move ahead in life and to follow their hearts. Jung Chang guides us through the difficult times that took place before the leadership of Mao and throughout his regime a time when China left behind its traditional values and was forced to take on a new way of life.
In the beginning of Wild Swans, Chang gives us a glimpse of what life was like for her grandmother Yu-fang’s generation. We can conclude that life in China was very challenging through the pain and suffering that her grandmother experienced. However, Yu-fang was able to rise above her conditions and surroundings; she was able to show bravery and courage. At a young age Chang’s grandmother had to mature faster than normal and tend to her ‘duties’. “At the age of fifteen my grandmother became the concubine of a warlord general, the police chief of a tenuous national government of China (pg. 1).” This meant that her grandmother was considered to be a possession rather than a human because of her status as a concubine. As a concubine she was used only for pleasurable activities and could be “discarded” whenever her captors felt the need to do so. During this time period, China was controlled by aggressive warlords; this along with no legal system made life even more challenging.
In Chin...

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... leadership. I feel that portion of China was lost during this time period. However, while I empathize with the fact that these people lost their identities, in some ways I feel that it may have been for the best.
The main area that really impacted me surrounded the aspect of the foot binding that the young girls would have to go through in China. I have seen documentaries on this process and I feel that this sort of mutilation needed to be changed regardless of the traditions that it represented. I feel that women’s rights needed to be addressed as well from the traditional ways of thinking. I could never imagine having to give up my daughter to lead the life of a concubine because it was socially expected and forced. China did change in a great many ways, while some aspects were positive others were negative, however they changed the Chinese for generations.
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