The book The Dragon’s Village by Yuan-Tsun Chen focuses on the story of a young girl Ling-Ling who faces the complexities of life in the countryside and decides to take an active part into the realization of the land reform in a small village.
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While struggling with the social and political constraints, the heroine also faces other challenges, including gender differences and violent policy against villagers. Before her departure to the village, Ling-Ling leads a privileged life in China with her uncle and aunt who adopted her when her parents died.
However, the girl chooses to sacrifice her calms and save life of revolutionary ideas and for the welfare of Shanghai.
Despite the fact that Ling-Ling have never been concerned with political and social issues, she has strive to outstrip her male friends in abilities to prove that women are capable of introducing changes to political and social order.
At the edge of the revolution, Ling-Ling’s disillusioned perception of the world, as well as her idealized views on the land reforms, does not allow her to delve into the reality.
As her aunt explains, “When you came home after school, you boasted about how you had jumped higher and run faster or even eaten more than boys.
That’s a child’s world…Now, this is a grownup’s world for you, and it’s a man world”1. While facing the reality, Ling Ling soon rejects to leave for Hong Kong with her uncle; instead, she decides stay in Shanghai to see what happens to her nation.
While describing the revolutionary events, the author takes the perspective of an idealistic seventeen-year-old girl who joins the movement of villagers to support the integration of the land reform.
Being bred as a city girl, the heroine is frustrated with the impoverished areas of Shanghai that differ significantly from her previous life.
While living with her aunt the influence of a male dominating society is more oppressive at that. According to Grice, “the novel’s importance may be attributed to the critical and ruthlessly unsentimental account that it offers in Communist China”2.
In this respect, female identity in China was strongly associated with inferior roles in social context whereas males were regarded superior to women due to their political and economic dominance.
Hence, as soon as Ling Ling realizes the actual matter of affairs, she starts engaging actively into the fight for freedom and prosperity of rural inhabitants to bring in equality to China.
Her idealistic and radical approach allows the protagonist to celebrate the strength of spirit and confidence into her power as a representative of a female minority.
Although Ling-Ling can hardly image of what poverty means to people, she still manages to overcome herself and struggle for the upheaval of virtues and morale in the Revolutionary China3.
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In conclusion, the book The Dragon’s Village focuses the idealistic world of a young girl who strives to improve the social and political life in the village.
Being challenged by the impoverishment of the region in which she previously lived, the protagonists decides to fight for the freedom and equality to achieve fair treatment of all people irrespective of their privileged status.
This strong autobiographical account also provides the political and social constraints that the girl faces due to the failure to recognize the problems of the Revolutionary China.
Chen, Yuan-Tsung. The Dragon’s Village. US: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1981.
Grice, Helene. Asian American Fiction, History and Life of Writing: International Encounters. UK: Routledge, 2012.
Grice, Helene. Negotiating Identities: An Introduction to Asian American Women’s Writing. UK: Manchester University Press, 2002.
1 Yuan-Tsung Chen. The Dragon’s Village. (US: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1981). 10.
2 Helen Grice, Negotiating Identifies: An Introduction to Asian American Women’s Writing. (UK: Manchester University Press, 2002), 110.
3 Helen Grice, Asian American Fiction, History and Life Writing: International Encounters. (New York: Routledge, 2012). 22