Rural Women's Life in Late Imperial China

Topics: Wife, Stone, Woman Pages: 3 (1002 words) Published: March 16, 2007
I chose to read and write about this book out of curiosity, how did Woman Wang die? How can this "novel" be a historical work? I opened the book expecting to see the whole life of Woman Wang, and I was wrong. As Spence has commented "… she has been to me like one of those stones that one sees shimmering through the water at low tide and picks up from the waves almost with regret, knowing that in a few moments the colors suffusing the stone will fade and disappear as the stone dries in the sun. But in this case the colors and veins did not fade; rather they grew sharper as they lay in my hand, and now and again I knew it was the stone itself that was passing on warmth to the living flesh that held it." (J. D. Spence, "Death of woman Wang") How can a small stone that has been lost in the ashes of time trigger such an outburst of emotion? Has the life of Woman Wang been so special? No, she was too normal, too unnoticeable and too much like an ant that was meant to be forgotten, and just because her life was normal, it seized a sensitive mind. Woman Wang's tragedy did not come from being murdered by her husband, but from being in a time and place that women were meant to suffer. Women's situation at this time can be characterized from three perspectives: women's social status, traditional expectations and evaluations of women, how women view themselves. First of all, Women had very low social status in China at this time. When talking about "social status", we are referring to the power influence and value of this status. By "women's social status" particularly, we are talking about the relative status between men and women, including three aspects: first, how much power or authority women have in a certain range (family, community for example). As an agricultural society China was at this time, women due to their physical weakness compared with men, were highly marginalized in family decision makings and social activities. From the words like "Men...
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