15 March 2015
Death of Woman Wang Essay The Death of Woman Wang, by Jonathan D. Spence, paints a vivid picture of provincial China in the seventeenth century. Manly the life in the northeastern country of T’an-ch’eng. T’an-ch’eng has been through a lot including: an endless cycle of floods, plagues, crop failures, banditry, and heavy taxation. Chinese society in Confucian terms was a patriarchal society with strict rules of conduct. The role at this time of women, however, has historically been one of repression. The traditional ideal woman was a dependent being whose behavior was governed by the "three obedience’s and four virtues". The three obedience’s were obedience to father before marriage, the husband after marriage, and the son in case of widows. The four virtues were propriety in behavior, speech, demeanor and employment. The laws of the land and fear of shame in society dictated that men were allowed to rule over their household leaving women in a powerless state as almost a slave of the home. In P’u’s stories women are portrayed as complex characters who hold important roles in the family, but are treated with little to no respect by authority figures, and other men of higher class. In The Death of Woman Wang, Spence portrays
Ciciora 2 marriage as a lifelong bond of loyalty between a couple, and then continues on to shows the darker side with the death of husbands and the death of woman Wang after she ran away. Spence portrayal of marriage and family in this novel in my opinion is seen as strong. I would characterize this portrait of marriage and family as being loyal. In the stories that Spence shares with us, with an exception to The Woman Who Ran Away, that the woman who are married are indeed very loyal to their husbands. In the city of T’an-ch’eng, marrying someone meant that you would be loyal to them and that the couple would be together until death. It was the woman’s
Cited: Spence, Jonathan D. The Death of Woman Wang. New York: Viking, 1978. Print.