Family by Pa Chin Essay
In Pa Chin’s novel, Family; it revolves around the Gao family and the many obstacles that the three sons have to go through to obtain their freedom. Since the setting for this novel was based in the early 1920’s, there are many conflicts and struggles that the book expresses and there are many situations where now a days it is understandable but during that time period it was really hard for many of China’s youth to be able to endure and accept the facts. The social conflicts that are described mostly in Pa Chin’s novel, Family are the problems of being a filial son/daughter and the importance of being in a higher status.
In the beginning, the novel begins with introducing the three sons who are the successors of the family. The eldest son, Juexin, is the one that will be the person to rightfully inherit the “throne” from his father and hold the family line. Even though there are three brothers and they all have the same mother and live in the same house, Juexin’s position is different from theirs. Because he is “the first son of the first son” (Pa, p.293), his destiny has already been decided for him the moment that he came into the world (Pa, p.35). And to become the filial son that he had to be, he must obey all orders from the elders, because in that way Juexin is showing his family and the world that he is capable of accomplishing these orders that are given to him and it shows that he is a devoted son to his family and to others.
Although there are also orders that are put on Juemin and Juehui, they do not have as much responsibility as Juexin. When their father makes the decision for Juexin to marry after graduation and tells him to quit his university studies and start to get a job; he agrees and completely goes with whatever his father says (p.36). In this way, it is showing that Juexin is being a filial son and doing his rightful duties, but at the same time it makes him cowardly. It makes him become like a machine, a robot; doing whatever anyone says no matter how painful it is.
It is understandable the Juexin is just trying to fulfill his duties and make sure that he does not go against his father or his grandfather or any elderly person, but still he loses all his freedom and basically his life. By doing what he does in the novel just basically means that he put his life into the hands of someone else, someone who will control him for the rest of his life. And by the time that he is able to take control of his life and his goals, he would be old and not even capable of doing anything besides making orders all day to someone else.
As for Juemin and Juehui, they are a bit more different. They understand the whole being filial to your elders thing, but they still do whatever to get what they want, especially Juehui. Being the rebellious person that he is, he never listens and in fact wishes that he could leave his home and get the freedom that he wants. Juehui knows of the whole family system and the whole fulfilling what your elders ask of you to do and understands it, but unlike his eldest brother, he wants to rebel. Throughout the novel, he wants the free life of being able to make decision for himself and so he disobeys the orders that are given to him. He forms a magazine article with his brother and other relatives, called Dawn, and from there he writes his own articles about the rebellion and publishes them. Even when Dawn is suspended, he and the rest of the members come up with a new magazine name, For the Masses, and continue with their articles (p.238). Juehui is very bold and defiant that he shows no shame of calling out a person who has done wrong, like when he talked about Master Feng, shouting; “That murderer—old man Feng!” (p.250). Although Juemin had tried to quiet him down, Juehui continued and did not care whether anyone had heard him or not.
It is not just the boys that have to deal with filial piety; Qin, although is a girl, also has rules of her own that...
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