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One particular story sent me reeling. I knew something had happened to make me almost double over in pain, but I did not know what. No short story I had ever read had ever delivered such a visceral punch before.

My presence in that Cornell classroom was, in the first place, a bit unlikely. When I entered college, I knew virtually nothing about China. I wanted truth! He was a central figure in the tumultuous decades of that century, both a product of his time and an agent giving it shape. He never relented in his struggle against the forces that stood in the way of a more humane China, even though he despaired of success.

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Whatever my initial motivation, there I was, sitting in that classroom, deeply moved by these stories from a different time and place. I had felt the impact of that wrenching reversal of perspective without quite knowing what was acting upon me. In later years, during my own hard times, I probed my own psyche in an attempt to understand unfortunate patterns of my own creation that were shaping my life and causing me considerable suffering.

At the same time in my professional life as an academic I was also living with these short stories, searching below their surfaces for patterns that shaped them. In interrogating his texts, I found myself searching for embedded structures that were generating these manifestations, a process analogous to the tasks I was performing in my own life. This book is the result of that process of inquiry and the best answer I can give to my wonderment about the capacity of these short stories to touch me so profoundly.

My thanks to Cambria Press and all the wonderful friends who have helped me over the decades to bring this book to fruition. Thank you. This study executes a reversal, decentering the content and focusing on the structure as a primary means to understand the texts, and it seeks to understand the Lu Xun who presents himself through his work, not Lu Xun the full human being. The structure that emerges from a close reading of the stories does indeed present an implicit therapeutic model.

Jung, one of three key founders of modern Western psychology, grounded his understanding of the human psyche in personal self-scrutiny and extensive clinical practice, and so his theories offer a validated psychological model for interpreting the textual evidence.


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Even while being firmly grounded in his own times, Lu Xun evoked universal themes and archetypes of the human condition. This book will appeal to scholars in Asian studies, comparative literature, and psychology. The rejection of many traditional values early in the twentieth century resulted in increasing equality and freedom for women.

The Western presence in the nineteenth century also had an influence. Raising the status of women was a priority in the founding of the modern state. Women played an important role in the Long March and the communist struggle against the Kuomintang, and under Mao they were given legal equality to men in the home and the workplace as well as in laws governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Despite these legal measures, women still face significant obstacles, including spousal abuse and the practice of selling women and young girls as brides.

According to custom, marriages are arranged by the couple's parents. While this system is less rigid than it once was, it is still common for young people to use matchmakers. People take a pragmatic approach to marriage, and even those who chose their own spouses often take practical considerations as much as romantic ones into account. Weddings are usually large, expensive affairs paid for by the groom's family. For those who can afford it, Western-style weddings are popular, with the bride in a white gown and the groom in a suit and tie.

The legal age for marriage is twenty for women and twenty-two for men. A marriage law enacted by the communists in gave women the right to choose their husbands and file for divorce. While it is difficult to obtain a divorce, rates are rising. Domestic Unit.

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The Human Tradition in Modern China by Kenneth J. Hammond, Hardcover | Barnes & NobleĀ®

It is common for several generations to live together under one roof. After marriage, a woman traditionally leaves her parents' home and becomes part of her husband's family. The husband's mother runs the household and sometimes treats a new daughter-in-law harshly. Although today practical reasons compel most children to leave the parents' home, the oldest son often stays, as it is his duty to care for his aging parents.

Even today, many young adults continue to live with their parents after marriage, partly because of a housing shortage in the cities. The estate generally passes to the oldest son, although, especially in the case of wealthy and powerful men, most of their personal possession traditionally were buried with them.


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  7. The remaining property went to the oldest son. Since the communists came to power in , women have been able to inherit property. Kin Groups.

    Chinese Calligraphy

    Extended family is extremely important, and the wealthy and well educated often hire genealogists to research their family trees. Family members, even distant relations, are valued above outsiders. The passing on of the family name is of great importance. If the oldest son in a family has no son of his own, he often is expected to adopt the son of his next youngest brother.

    If no sons are born in the clan, a sister's son may be adopted to carry on the name. Infant Care. Traditionally, male babies were valued much more highly than female offspring. Girls were looked at as a liability and in times of economic hardship often were sold into lives of servitude or prostitution. While this has changed somewhat, those attitudes have again become prevalent with the government's one-child policy. When families are allowed to have only one child, they want to ensure that it is a boy; for this reason, rates of female infanticide and abandonment have risen. While babies are highly valued, it is considered bad luck to praise them aloud.

    It is common to offer backward compliments, remarking on a child's ugliness. A baby usually is not washed for the first three days after birth. On the third day, he or she is bathed, and friends and relatives come to view the new addition to the family. When a male child turns one month old, the parents throw a First Moon party. The boy's head is shaved, and the hair is wrapped in a red cloth, which, after a hundred days, is thrown in the river.

    This is thought to protect the child. Women usually are granted maternity leave between two months and one year, but rural women tend to go back to work earlier. Child Rearing and Education. From a very young age, children are assigned responsibilities in both the family and the community. In the countryside, this means farm chores; in the city, it consists of housework or even sweeping the street.

    Schoolchildren are responsible for keeping the classroom clean and orderly. Under communism, when women were encouraged to take jobs outside the home, child care facilities became prevalent. Grandparents also play a significant role in raising children, especially when the mother works outside the home. Education is mandatory for nine years. Ninety-six percent of children attend kindergarten and elementary school, and about two-thirds continue on to secondary school, which lasts for three years.

    In high school, students pursue either technical training or a general education. Those who receive a general education can take the extremely difficult qualifying exams to enter a university. The educational system stresses obedience and rote learning over creativity. Both traditional Confucians and the Communist Party view education as a method for inculcating values in the young. Under Mao, the educational system suffered from propaganda and the devaluation of intellectual pursuits. Because of the size of the population, classrooms and teachers are in short supply. The country has made great progress in increasing the literacy of the general population.

    When the communists came to power, only 15 percent of the population could read and write. Today, thanks to mandatory schooling for children and adult education programs, the rate is over 75 percent.

    Freedom and Regulation

    Higher Education. Higher education is not accessible to many. Admission to the universities is extremely competitive; only 2 percent of the population attends college. In addition to the rigorous entrance examination, students are required to demonstrate their loyalty to the Communist Party.

    During the summers, university students perform manual labor. The curriculum emphasizes science A mother and her children in a farming commune in Canton.

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