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The King Of Trees Essay

1834 words - 7 pages

Throughout the segment for this book, I was introduced to many projects that helped me develop a better understanding of the plot and how different perspectives of the Chinese population were displayed through the characters, especially the heroes. I was allowed to choose this topic as one of my research projects in which I looked at Confucius texts and read about filial piety in order to understand one of the many factors that influenced the characters: family. These family values can be attributed to the deep-rooted culture in China, the Four Olds: Old Customs, Old Cultures, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. The book, Classic of Filial Piety, by Confucius, emphasizes the need of the child to pay reverence to his parents, while not blindly following his parents’ demands. This however, conflicts with the demands of the Communist government at the time, who needed full control of the youth. Therefore, it makes sense that he would send all the youth to work in the Down to the Countryside movement, which is the setting for the book. It is through these circumstances of being away from the family and being allowed to develop one’s own opinions of the government and its policies that allow the youth to grapple with differing views on the morals and impacts of the Cultural Revolution. These cries, concerns, and praises are all exemplified through each of the characters in the book, especially the heroes, who have the most difficulty with identifying themselves. Because of this difficulty, it would have been even more complicated in extricating why Ah Cheng made such complex characters and motives, if it weren’t for the research project that was assigned to us. The cultural importance of these values helped me gain a deeper understanding of the actions of the characters in the book in relation to the government and family. Because I was not able to witness firsthand these events, and Cheng is not a completely unbiased primary source, this research was instrumental in figuring out what the masses were each debating over and how it related to the type-casted characters in the book.
351 words

In traditional texts, the hero represents the community and carries with him its hopes and fears. However, in the King of Trees three novellas, the hopes and fears of the public were rather spread out through separate views. The tension at the time resided in the Cultural Revolution that was run by Mao, which is the main setting in the three novellas. The population was split on supporting Mao and his Communist party or quietly voicing concerns and dissent over the unfair policies. Throughout the three novellas in the King of Trees, these different groups of people can be found. On one side, there is the disparity between the mindset of the population and of the hero. Ah Cheng's anti-revolutionary ideas speak out through the resistance of his heroes to the vision shared by the government and the masses it has influenced through the narrator's gradual alliance with...

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