Bursting with drama, heartbreak and horror, this extraordinary family portrait mirrors China’s century of turbulence. Chang’s grandmother, Yu-fang, had her feet. Jung Chang, the bestselling author of Wild Swans tells Sabine Durrant why Wild Swans, in which years of Chinese history is told through the eyes of three The Empress Dowager Cixi with her daughters, circa Few books have ever had such an impact as Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. Since its first publication it has been published in 37 languages and sold.

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Wild Swans is a memoir that traces the transformations of twentieth century Chinese history through the lives of three generations of Chinese women.

Jung Chang interview: why I’m still banned in China – Telegraph

The binding of her feet, her experience as a concubine of General Xue, and her later marriage to Dr. Xia depict the social views and roles of women prior to the Communist Revolution.

Such a privileged position allows the author to grow up and receive an education during the s in the midst of much social upheaval. Yet her fortune turns when her parents are convicted of being daughhters of the people,” and she is sent, like many other urban youths of her generation, to the countryside to receive “re-education. Reading Jung Chang’s Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China.


Jung Chang

Discussion Questions Racing Toward Socialism: How did this wid affect the ownership of business? How did different people in the story react to this new policy? How did labeling individuals as “counterrevolutionaries” affect families? Was being labeled a “capitalist,” that is an owner of private property, considered good or bad?

The Great Leap Forward and Famine: Mao thought this would allow China to surpass the United Kung and Great Britain in industrial output within 15 years and, in one swift leap, hurl China toward the desired goal of communism and to the forefront of industrialized nations.

Imagine you are a youth growing up during this period. Describe your activities and emotions. Why is the author critical of the economic policies of this period? Why does she characterize the nation as having “slid into doublespeak”?

Did the Chinese newspapers, radio, and the media speak out against these exaggerations? Maoist policy supposedly attempted to create a more equitable society. Were there differences in the way people in the rural areas were treated compared with the way people in the urban areas, the cities, were treated? How did the economic policies of the late s contribute to the devastating famine that cost China thirty million deaths?


Does the author believe the famine was caused primarily by human error or by natural disaster? General In contrast to the traditional practice of arranged marriage, how were marriage negotiations conducted after the Communist victory? Were young people free to seek their own partners?

Wild Swans : Three Daughters of China

Who authorized permission to marry, and how did this differ from in the past? Were individual or political considerations more important in choosing wile mate? The Communist Party sought to elevate the status of women and provide opportunities for them to engage in productive work outside of the household.

How did this affect parenting? Who was in charge of child rearing? Given that parents were deeply involved in working to build Socialism, how was family life consequently affected? Did this change over time?

Consider these readings and discuss whether the position, mobility, and educational opportunities of women have changed over the course of contemporary Chinese history.