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A Daughter Of Han

5 Pages 1253 Words

A Daughter, a Wife and a Mother
“A Daughter of Han” written by Ida Pruitt revealed what life was like for a Chinese woman in the 19th century. It allowed us to follow an ordinary woman’s life story during the end of the Qing Dynasty. Our main character, Ning Lao T’ai-t’ai, lived a full and difficult life. In her time, she gave birth and buried children, she worked as a maid, she begged for money and food to raise her children, she sold her daughter for she could not afford to feed her, and she felt fortunate for being able to age with her family close to her. As the story unfolded, we learned more about the culture and the traditions at the time from Ning Lao T’ai-t’ai’s view. She believed in heaven and the destiny heaven had chosen for her. She obeyed her parents for it was the “uprightness” of a good woman. She spent her whole life trying to provide for her family and keep them close together. She had grown from a young woman who knew nothing about making a living to an independent woman who bound her family together.
In this book, Pruitt was able to show us a traditional view of women’s role in the Chinese society. According to the tradition, a good daughter is to obey her parents. When she gets married, she is to follow her husband, bare children, and wait for her husband to support her. For Ning, life was circumstantial and a matter of destiny. She graciously accepted the life she had been handed and tried her best to do what “heaven” had chosen for her as a daughter, a wife, and a mother. She did “what was seemly for a woman to do and what was not seemly” (Pruitt, 14). She believed that whatever one’s destiny, one must learn to live with it. Her life reflected a great deal of womanhood in traditional China. In the 19th century, women were not sent to school to be educated. Instead, they were taught how to be a wife, for women were normally married off around the age of fifteen. Dau...

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