Bound Feet and Western Dress

Bound Feet and Western Dress - O'Leary 1 Brittney O'Leary...

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O’Leary Brittney O’Leary Professor Faunce Gen Ed 111 28 November 2007 Bound Feet and Western Dress Chinese culture has always been that of tradition and honor. Pang-Mei’s book, Bound Feet and Western Dress , tells a story of a woman growing up in changing times and her struggle to honor her family. Yu-i is an ambitious, passionate young woman in her mid-twenties when she breaks the social norms in China. Western culture was invading China like a disease; schools, businesses, traditions were all transformed by Western influence. The change was inevitable, needed and for most of the older citizens of China, unwelcome; “Change was sweeping over China that meant freedom, no more slavery to ancient customs” (Chang, 101). Yu-i’s story begins long before our time; she was born into the Chang family, a family with high honors to their name, great wealth and admiration. Yu-i was the second eldest of her sisters, her brothers were well educated and held high jobs in the Chinese government, her father was a distinguished scholar and her mother, a loyal wife. Yu-i grew up in a changing time, and with changing times, people must rebel against the social norms of society to catch the wave of change. Yu-i would be the first to get divorced in China; Hsu Chih-mo, an accomplished poet, was her husband for just a few short years before he announced that he would be the first man in China to get a divorce. Yu-i was forced to deal with the ridicule and disapproval of many; a woman 1
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O’Leary getting a divorce was said to have brought shame and dishonor to her family name. “I want you to remember this: In China, a woman is nothing” (6). Yu-i was among the first generation of Chinese women to not have bound her feet. With the support and protection of her older brother (Second Brother), Yu-i would not have to endure the pain of bound feet, “foot binding was a custom that was no longer beautiful” (23). Yu-i’s actions could have been considered rebellious if they were her decision, but most of her “rebellions”
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course GEN ED 111 taught by Professor Faunce during the Fall '07 term at Washington State University .

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Bound Feet and Western Dress - O'Leary 1 Brittney O'Leary...

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