The Abandoner

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Bryan Nguyen Mr. Clarke World Core Literature 28 August 2012 The Vice-Chairman’s Journey

In many places around the world, maintaining a family’s lineage is very important. In some of these areas, the one to carry it must be a boy. There are some people who take this tradition very seriously, for example, the vice-chairman in the short story, “The Abandoner”, by Ma Jian. It was in 1979 when the one-child policy was introduced. It was also that year when the vice-chairman gave birth to his first daughter, Miaomiao. She was retarded and the vice-chairman realized that she was bringing more trouble than happiness. Due to Miaomiao’s abnormality, the vice-chairman’s wife received permission to give birth to a new child. The vice-chairman desperately hoped for a boy, but received a second daughter. He then resorts to getting rid of Miaomiao. The vice-chairman could have easily killed her and come up with an excuse for why she died, but he takes the time, a whole six months, to try to get rid of her. This deed shows that he still has grown feelings for her. It could be because she was his first daughter, or it could be because they started spending a lot of time together. First, he tries leaving her on the road, waiting to see if anyone will take her. He then reads about an orphanage nearby. He then tries to deposit her there, but Miaomiao eventually gets returned to him. The old fortune teller warned him that he could not change his fate, yet he still tries with no luck. This shows his stubbornness and how desperate he is to correct his lineage. This also shows his mixed feelings for Miaomiao....
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