This term I have been reading Chinese Cinderella, an autobiography by Adeline Yen Mah. It is a touching story about the life of an unwanted daughter living with her grandparents, aunt, siblings and her horrid father and stepmother. Ever since her mother died due to her birth, all her siblings renamed her ‘bad luck charm’. All her life Adeline had been mistreated, unloved and never acknowledged. The issue I would like to discuss is about family relationships and its impact.
Adeline was treated unfairly by members of her family. Her stepmother has always treated Adeline differently from her own biological children. Her stepmother’s children would be given expensive and new clothes and Adeline was given an itchy second had brown smock that looked like it had been pulled out of the ground. Her stepmother’s children were given delicious cakes while Adeline received minimal food a day with occasional fruit as an amazing treat. Lastly, Adeline’s stepmother always dismissed Adeline of her rights and continuously tried to banish her from their home.
Adeline’s father never thought much about his daughter. Adeline’s ignorant father had always considered Adeline a waste of time, space and money. He always listened to his new wife and sent Adeline off to many boarding schools across the country. He even sent to her to a boarding school in Shanghai during the time when the communists were arriving. At that time most families were pulling their children out of schools and fleeing. Poor Adeline stayed at boarding schools for years and never had a visitor or any mail from her family. In one incident Adeline’s father even forgot her own name and birthday! ‘The stewardess asked me to fill out these cards. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten your Chinese name. Is it Jun-quing? No father. That’s little sister’s name. Mine is Jun-ling.’
Lastly, Adeline’s siblings treated her horribly and were dishonest towards her. They played unfair tricks on her and took away her precious things....
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