Introducing an East World to a West World
On June 26, 1982, Pearl Sydenstricker was born in Hillsboro West Virginia, to two American Presbyterian missionaries who primarily served in China (“Buck, Pearl S.”). At the age of two, Buck and her family moved back to China where she spent the next 6 years of her life adapting the Chinese culture while integrating aspects of her American heritage as well. Buck’s childhood in China stimulated the bicultural traits that she infused into her writing by exemplifying both American and Chinese culture and values. At 15, Buck was sent to a boarding school in Shanghai and continued her schooling at the Randolph Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg Virginia, where she graduated in 1914 and taught psychology. Later on she finished her schooling at Cornell University receiving a Master of Arts Degree. Buck also taught English at several universities throughout her career including the University of Nanking, Chung Yang University, and Southeastern University (“Works of Pearl Buck”).
A notable historic event that impacted Buck’s life and her writing was the Boxer Rebellion (“Works of Pearl Buck”). The boxers were a group of Chinese people who opposed the spread of Western ideas and technology and convinced the empress to drive out all foreigners in China in order to sustain China’s ancient culture and history. Despite the empress’ support for the arising Western influence, the Boxers lashed out by imprisoning the empress and stimulating the attacks on foreigners. This ultimately caused Buck’s family to flee from China back to America in order to escape the rebellions plotted against foreigners (“A Life Lived in Interesting Times”). Buck also witnessed the foot-binding and murder of female babies in China due to the patriarchal nature that was indigenous to the Chinese culture. This influenced her to become an advocate for woman’s rights and her experience with the Boxer Rebellion profoundly affected her perspective for equality...
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