Family Structure in Revolutionary China Essay
Family Structure in Revolutionary China
Political turmoil, loyalty to the party, reforms, and the escape from political scorn, tore the many Chinese families apart in the time of the Cultural Revolution; especially once the Great Leap Forward was enacted in 1957.As expresses in Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro’s Son of the Revolution (1958-1981) the at home family life was not only difficult, but often didn’t exist. The fact that ones actions could be accepted by society one day and could be criticized by it the next often lead to an untrusting nature that permeated the most sacred of societal relationships, including the home-front. The lack of structure in Liang’s family was alluded to throughout the book, more specifically in the absence of family members; thus showing that family could make or break ones societal position.
After being urged and basically forced to express productive criticisms about her job, Heng’s mother was sent away to be re-educated when the political party suddenly changed to an anti-rightist movement. The disgracing of ones name not only hurt the individual but created restrictions on other members of the family which would often lead to constant tormenting. “So perhaps inevitably, over the years, I came to resent my mother for making my life so miserable. I began to believe that she really had done something wrong” (16). Not only did it lead to tormenting, but other members of the family were forced to do what they felt would be best for the family, “Don’t come back until you’ve reformed yourself. The children in this house need a Revolutionary mother, not a Righteous mother” (10). Although Heng’s father deeply cared for his wife he felt like he needed to in force that fact that what she had done was wrong. Following the mothers re-education, her and Shan got a divorce and she distanced herself from the family as much as possible as so not to interfere. Then at a later meeting with her youngest son she e