Pa Chin's 'Family'

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All through time, successive generations have rebelled against the values and traditions of their elders. In all countries, including China, new generations have sought to find a different path than that of their past leaders. Traditional values become outdated and are replaced with what the younger society deems as significant. Family concentrates on this very subject. In the novel, three brothers struggle against the outdated Confucian values of their elders. Alike in their dislike of the traditional Confucian system of their grandfather, yet very different in their interactions with him and others, begin to reach beyond the ancient values of Confucianism and strive for a breath of freedom. Their struggles against the old values lead to pain, suffering and eventually achievement for the three of them, however at a harsh price for two brothers. The story of the first brother, Chueh-hsin, is unquestionably the most upsetting and saddest in this novel. Cheuh-hsin has lived his entire life in reverence and constant conformity with his elders. Although he is an "enlightened" person and does not unconditionally agree with many of the Confucian values, which he follows, he feels that his position in the social hierarchy of the family leaves him no other choice. As the "first son of the first son" he is the head of his household. As a result, he is forced to take on responsibilities he does not want. For this very reason, his two younger brothers, Cheuh-min and Cheuh-hui, scorn him. Chueh-hsin has lived his entire life following a non-resistant strategy. At an early age, he was prohibited from his dreams, by being forced into an arranged marriage, although his heart belonged to another woman, Cousin Mei. Although he comes to love the wife whom he lives with, he can never completely remove Mei from his heart and mind and neither can she, as is evident by her death, which is a result of her internal suffering through the years of separation and broken dreams...
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