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Novels are composed based on the challenges affecting society. Protagonists mirror societal values and challenges. This discussion is based on Chuan-Sheng, in ”Regret for the past”, Zhenzhen, in ”When I was in Xia Village”, and Pak Hun, in Descendants of Cain. The discussion aims to examine historical events that affect the lives of protagonists.
Chuan-Sheng, in ”Regret the past”
Women in power and politics have no voice. The society is male-dominated. Traditional social relations have affected how women and children are viewed by other members of society in China (Lu 84). Chuan—Sheng is an educated intellectual who has developed a relationship with Tzu-Chun. However, the relationship between Chuan-Sheng and Tzu-Chun is affected by feudal traditions and no-belief inequality among different sexes.
Chuan-Sheng as man is controlled by history in terms of societal systems that do not recognize women. The society as part of history focuses on economic growth and domination. As a result, love cannot be developed among two persons in a relationship, feuding about values. Women are silent characters in a society dominated by men. In particular, the female sex is treated as the “other”. Gender struggle for power affects Chuan-Sheng’s ability to live with a woman he loves.
A fading love forces Chuan-Sheng to find new ways love can be developed with Tzu-Chun. When love cannot be developed again, Chuan-Sheng blames the woman partner in the relationship. The protagonist, therefore, is a captive of societal values and traditions that do not consider women as part of the power and decision-making process. Even though women have achieved education, they are not viewed as intellectuals who cannot assist in the decision making process. Chuan-Sheng blames Tzu-Chun as a woman for the challenges and wretchedness of the present life (Lu 85). The woman returns to the father, but based on patriarchal traditions, a woman is not allowed to break away from the husband.
Zhenzhen, in ”When I was in Xia Village”
In the early 1930s to the 1940s, the war between China and Japan led to the establishment of the current communist system of government. Zhenzhen as a protagonist is affected by this cruel history of China and Japan (Ding 286). In particular, Zhenzhen is raped by Japanese soldiers. Zhenzhen was sent by the Communist Party of China to work as a spy while serving as a prostitute. After returning from the battlefront, Zhenzhen experiences more contempt from society than sympathy. The fact that prostitution is not allowed in the society makes Zhenzhen be an outcast.
Despite the need to be patriotic to the government, the society still judges Zhenzhen because she decided to be a prostitute so that she could spy on the Japanese. As a woman, Zhenzhen cannot interact or make choices in society because of the consequences of war (Ding 286). Zhenzhen cannot make choices on marriage since society members detest her attempt to find a marriage partner and live a happy life in society. Further, loss of virginity is a detestable phenomenon that makes Zhenzhen an outcast who cannot make decisions on who to marry (Ding 287). In the end, Zhenzhen becomes unsuccessful in integrating into society because of societal cultures.
Pak Hun, in Descendants of Cain
Pak Hun is a landowner in Korea. However, the protagonist’s past is affected by massive political sufferings that arose because of the Japanese occupation in Korea. As a captive of the past, Pak Hun watches without any resistance as the village is affected by communist land reforms. The Japanese occupation in Korea shows how the protagonist cannot engage in any activity to avoid the current land from being taken away by the rulers (Hwang 81). Pak Hun as a landowner struggles to survive because of Japanese occupation and the massive political upheavals affecting the society.
The conflict also affects Pak Hun’s current relationship with Ojaknyo. The need to make love and develop a family is affected by past events related to the Japanese Korean conflict. Pak Hun would rather listen to the father and brother engage in arguments about the conflict but fail to acknowledge the love and affection demonstrated by Ojaknyo. In particular, the protagonist is affected by the epochal moment in the history of the Koreans.
Politics as part of history affects all aspects of life. The key concern is not on political processes that took place in history but on individual reactions towards historical events. As a captive to historical events, Pak Hun has no choice but to allow communist authorities to take away the owned land (Hwang 81). Even the ability to forge relationships with brothers and sisters, as well as loved ones are based on experiences of the past. Pak Hun’s current mourning arises from the destruction of society by the landowning class.
Wars, politics, and societal values and traditions have major effects on the life of community members. Chuan-Sheng is an example of a man affected by patriarchal traditions and values that do not respect the woman. China’s traditions and history do not regard women as an important part of society. Pak Hun, in Descendants of Cain, cannot make decisions concerning love and property because of communist government control. Finally, Zhenzhen as a woman can only serve the government by becoming a prostitute spy to the Japanese soldiers. The society has no place for prostitutes.
Hwang, SunWon. The Descendants of Cain. New York: Routledge. 2015. Web.
Lu, Hsun. ”Regret for the past”, in the Power of Weakness. New York: Createspace Independent Pub. 1925. Web.
Ding, Ling. ”When I was in Xia Village”, in the Power of Weakness. New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York. 1941. Web.