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#1 Odesláno : 7. června 2023 7:44:46(UTC)
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Women in Traditional China and their Portrayal in Chinese Folktales


China is a vast, sprawling country that has long been an enigma to the Western world. The Westerner’s view of the Chinese has been greatly colored by the media. The screen has portrayed Chinese men as Confucius-spouting Charlie Chan types or violent and cold-blooded torturers that are well versed in the martial arts. Most Americans and Europeans are familiar with the eternal image of Dr. Fu Manchu and his friends who are callous, opium-smoking criminals. Then of course, there are the commonly known jokes about Chinese delicacies and the preference for unborn mice, monkey brains hot from hacked-off heads, hundred year old eggs and snakes cooked alive in boiling rice.To get more news about traditional chinese women, you can visit shine news official website.
Finally, there is the West’s conception of the Oriental woman. In the American films of the 1920s and ‘30s, she was depicted as the delicate and suppliant concubine who was carried about by her servants. This image has given way to that of the modern Chinese woman in Mao inspired clothing who might refer to her fellow worker as comrade. She is supposedly liberated from the bondage of the past, but still considered docile, gentle, and respondent to a man’s needs and pleasures.

The role of women in traditional China is a curious one. Though they were expected to be totally subservient to men and had no legal rights in the society, there were Chinese women who wielded great power and influence. There are the legendary stories of the concubine who used her beauty and charm to gain political and economic power.

China’s traditional attitudes toward women as reflected in folktales will be the focus of this unit. Folktales will be the medium through which Chinese women will be examined because they provide a rich source of information for understanding a people. Folklore and folktales are an important component in the culture of any given people. It is a fabric into which has been woven the institutions, traditions, customs, beliefs and attitudes of a people. It is important to recognize that the folktale serves as more than a quaint, entertaining tale. Alan Dundes in his well-known book, The Study of Folklore points out that folklore has several important functions:
It is important that students be given some introduction to the cultural, political and social history of China before delving into the literary material. Familiarization with the time honored traditions and social customs of China will help students gain a richer meaning from the readings. Since the mayor emphasis of this unit will be the traditional views and attitudes toward women in Chinese folktales, it is hoped that students will not only gain a better understanding of Chinese culture and society but will come to realize that a nation’s legacy is very much tied up in its storytelling. As noted, author Roger D. Abrahams so aptly states, “storytelling is a fundamental way of codifying hard-won truths and dramatizing the rationale behind traditions.” 2
Rationale
This unit is intended for use among intermediate students at the high school level. Because the folktales make for enjoyable and relatively easy reading, this unit could work well for the reluctant reader. Although this unit is not designed to provide students with an in-depth study of the social and political history of China, it is hoped that by the end of this unit, students will be sensitive to the fact that the social studies and/or geography text is not the only source book for understanding the peoples of the world.
This unit is intended for use in an English course. However, it certainly could be used in conjunction with the materials in a geography or world cultures class and perhaps become part of an interdisciplinary course. It is suggested that this unit be used over a four to six week period. However, a classroom teacher may opt to devote a longer or shorter time to the material presented. Because of the scope of this unit, I have only focused on several folktales but the suggested student bibliography contains a wealth of stories.

In addition, I have chosen folktales about women largely because they have been frequently bypassed in studies of Chinese history or culture. They were often seen as only incidental to Chinese studies and not as an important force in Chinese history. It is my hope that students will come to see that women who have been the largest disinherited group in China and all but written out of the traditional Chinese history texts, could gain notoriety and acclaim through the legends and folktales which were passed on orally.
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