Many scholars have provided different definitions of the word injustice. In this paper, injustice will be defined as the absence of fairness and lack of justice in dealing with issues related to people’s rights; it basically includes violation of people’s rights and unfair treatment of people.
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This paper will discuss some of the rural injustices in the society as depicted using imagery in the following three short stories: “When I Was in Hsia Village”, “Marriage of Young Blacky,” and “Springs Silkworms.” Rural injustice imagery is an important aspect that these three short stories have used to demonstrate and illustrate some of the prejudices and unreasonable human experiences that take place in the modern Chinese rural societies.
In these three stories, the authors have clearly managed to use characters, styles, and major themes to provide clear evidences that there is rural injustice in the society. These writers have used imagery to illustrate the rural injustice that affects the Chinese rural society. Therefore, this paper will demonstrate how rural injustice is depicted in these three short stories using styles, themes, setting, and characters (Shu-li 94).
In the story of “Marriage of Young Blacky,” there is rural injustice where Yu Fu’s father lost his temper and beat some young men who had come for his daughter-in-law; indeed, this woman had managed to attract a big number of admirers within a few days. As the big crowd surrounded her with gaity and laughter, Yu Fu’s father thought such behavior was improper, and had to do something to save the situation. Indeed, one day when such a crowd had gathered as usual, he lost his temper and gave the young people a good scolding.
This certainly prevented them from coming again, but irritated his daughter-in-law so much that “she cried for a whole day and night, refusing to comb her hair, wash clothes, wash her face, or take any food” (Shu-li 91). This shows that there was injustice as the daughter-in-law was not happy with the beatings given to those young men by Yu Fu’s father. Indeed, she had not complained that those men were a nuisance to her or that she was not interested in them.
Another rural injustice is seen in the story where Hsiao Chin’s mother was gossiping with the neighbors and Chin Wang came to Hsiao Chin to kiss her.
This is illustrated in Marriage of Young Blacky where one Chin Wang made an impromptu visit to Hsiao Chin’s home, in the absence of her father and mother who were in the fields and neighbor’s residence respectively, and insisted of having a good time with her. Although she resisted, the young man was adamant and tried to blackmail her saying, “Stop acting! You would soften enough if you were with Hsiao Erh-hei.
Come on; let me have a go too” (Shu-li 93). This shows how boys were capable of sexual abuse to girls in the rural society. There is also rural injustice where Chin Wang’s father was said to be one of the village farmers who behaved like a tiger, especially due to the alleged tendency to maltreat people in the society when he was a master. The story narrates that, “for a good number of years the old man had mean of the village, and was a past master in maltreating people” (Marriage of Young Blacky 94).
Again, his son Chin Wang and their cousin Hsing Wang were seen mistreating people during village official elections, as illustrated in the story that “the country folk hated them like poison , but nobody dared breathe a word , for fear of rousing the enmity of such formidable enemies” (Shu-li 95). There is also another rural injustice in the story where Chin Wang planned to revenge against Hsiao Chin by claiming that Hsiao Erh-hei avoided the meeting and was not sick with malaria.
He then goes on and plans another meeting in order to embarrass and confront Hsiao Erh-hei and Hsiao Chin, although he does not succeed in his plans. This is illustrated in the story through the statement that “fortunately, the village head knew his job and reproved Hsing Wang, Hsiao Erh-hei really was ill with malaria; it was not just an excuse” (Shu-li 98).
Another rural injustice is illustrated where Third Fairy–maid forced her daughter Hsiao Chin to marry Brigadier Wu against her wish, as she had wanted to marry Hsiao Erh-hei; indeed, “Third-Fairy-maid was terribly upset about all this” (Shu-li 101).
There is rural injustice when girls are forced to marry partners that are chosen to them by their parents against their wish. Indeed, it shows how this young woman, Hsiao Chin, has faced injustice several times, first in a forced kiss from Chin Wang and then her mother’s attempt to force her to marry Brigadier Wu.
There is rural injustice in the story where Chin Wang managed to take Hsiao Chin and Hsiao Erh-hei to the district government because Hsiao Chin had refused to marry Brigadier Wu (Shu-li 102). In addition, using styles such as dreams where Hsiao mother dreamt that a play was being performed in the temple, we see injustice in the rural society, as this dream is later interpreted in the case where Hsiao Erh-hei is tied with Hsiao Chin and taken to the district government office (108).
Lastly, another injustice in the rural Chinese society as depicted in the story is the issue of parents who want their daughters to marry even when underage as in the case of Hsiao Chin, whose mother wanted her to marry Brigadier Wu even before reaching 15years of age (107). Therefore, the author of the short story has managed to show various rural injustices in the Chinese rural society through the use of themes, styles and characters as discussed in this paper.
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The second story that depicts the availability of rural injustices is “Spring Silkworms.” In this story, there is rural injustice where Tung Pao’s grandfather and Old Master Chen had been forced by Long Hairsrs to work as captives for seven years in a secluded place without payment and against their wish or consent. The story ends by, “because they raised a crop of spring silkworms, the people in old Tung Pao’s village got deeper into debt” (145). This shows how the villagers were suffering.
This is illustrated in the book where it states that “years ago Long Hairs campaigning through the countryside had captured Tung Pao’s grandfather and Old Master Chen and kept them working as prisoners for nearly seven years in the same camp” (Tun 11). Another injustice is seen where we are told that Old Tung Pao’s father once killed a young long-haired man on patrol and continuing to state, ‘what Old Tung Pao could not understand was why the fall of the house of Chen should affect his own family” (Tun 12).
Besides, there is also rural injustice in the story where villagers had bad attitude and prejudice towards foreigners to a point of petitioning the government to repatriate them; the story states that, “in the village, his attitude towards foreigners was well known, the new Kuomintang government says it wants to” throw out” the foreign devils” (Tun 14). This shows that in rural areas, foreigners were not valued and were mistreated by others, thus showing injustice towards these foreigners, most of whom were innocent.
Furthermore, due to exploitation and other mistreatments, there was poverty in the village, as women and children had little to eat, while “their clothes were old and torn” (Tun 17). Therefore, in this story, the writer has clearly shown some of the rural injustices in the Chinese society using characters and themes such as poverty and cultural beliefs.
The last story that demonstrates the presence of rural injustice is “When I Was in Hsia Village.” In this story, we see injustice in the village where we are told of existing political turmoil in the village and some elementary school, which were destroyed by other people. The story illustrates this by stating, “These used to be an elementary school, but last year the Jap devils destroyed it” (Ling 269).
Another injustice in Hsia village is illustrated where people have to go and hide due to turmoil at political department. There are also rural injustices where girls are involved in prostitution in Hsia village as illustrated in the story – “it’s said that she has slept with at least a hundred men” (Ling 271). This shows that there are sexual injustices taking place in the village (Ling 278), especially in relation to the circumstances that lead to girls to turn to prostitution.
In addition, rural injustice is seen where Japanese attack Hsia village some time back and some people were killed. The author illustrates this by stating, “Liu Erh-ma said, talking about the Japanese attack on Hsia village a year and a half before” (Ling 272).
Lastly, there was also a lot of suffering in the village due to severe living conditions and political interferences that were common in the villages (Ling 277). Therefore, using appropriate themes such as suffering, prostitution, religion, and political instability, the writer of the short story, “When I Was in Hsia Village,” has been able to successfully show some on the rural injustices in modern Chinese society.
In conclusion, this paper has discussed some of the rural injustices as exhibited and evidenced in the three short stories including “When I Was in Hsia Village,” “Marriage of Young Blacky”, and “Springs Silkworms”. As seen above, injustice involves the infringement of civil rights and inequitable treatment to other people; thus, rural injustice is the violation of basic human rights and deficiency of fairness in the rural society.
From the three short stories, we have seen and found out that some of the common rural injustices in the society include marriage challenges, prostitution, and bad leadership, poverty due to exploitation, colonialism, and poor cultural beliefs. In the story of “ Marriage of Young Blacky “, the author has managed to show us various rural injustices in the Chinese rural society through the use of themes, styles, and characters as discussed in this paper.
Secondly, we have discussed some of the rural injustices as depicted in the short story,” Spring Silkworms”, with the injustice that stands out being foreigner’s discrimination. Besides, this shows that foreigners were not valued and were mistreated by others in the village.
Furthermore, due to exploitation and other mistreatments, there was poverty in the village, as women and children had little to eat and no clothe to wear. Lastly, in the story “When I Was in Hsia Village,” appropriate themes such suffering, prostitution, religion and political instability have been used to demonstrate the existence of injustice in the society. Indeed, the writer of this last short story has been able to successfully show some on the rural injustices in modern Chinese society.
Finally, although the writers of these three short stories have highlighted various injustices to the society in the past, it is important that other writers use literature to depict current happenings in the society. Again, writers should use literature to create more awareness to the members of the society about how to eliminate and prevent potential injustice.
Literary writers should also be creative and use words that are more appealing and styles of writing that would make their literary works more interesting to read. Lastly, short stories are among the most humorous and enjoyable pieces of literary works; therefore, the writers should combine good use of characters, themes, literary styles, and settings, including the plot of the story in order to make their writings more interesting and globally accepted
Ling, Ting. When I Was in Hsia Village. (Attached article)
Shu-li, Chao. Marriage of Young Blacky. (Attached article)
Tun, Mao. Springs Silkworms. (Attached article)