A Woman’s Tragedy in a Revolution: Love and Marriage in The Epic of a Woman

  •  Katherina Li    


This paper examines Chinese women’s love and marriage during a political and cultural revolution, and the impact on women’s livelihood. This paper discusses how changing in political ideology and culture is affecting love and marriage for a female figure. The paper takes the respect, responsibility, care knowledge (RRCK) model of love to exam the female’s one-sided love from a lens of Fromm’s theory of the four elements of true love to shed the light on the dysfunctional relationships among in China that results in gender violence and as demonstrated in the novel The Epic of a Woman. This paper sets forth options for love and marriage in the mid-20th century Chinese literary and to re-examine gender violence against women. The Epic of a Woman (Yige nüren de shishi), by Chinese American woman writer Yan Geling (b. 1958), narrates the experiences of female protagonist Tian Sufei and her relentless pursuit of love throughout her life. The female protagonist in this novel is a reflection of Yan Geling’s mother's personal experiences. Yan’s mother was a popular dancer in an art troupe in the revolutionary army when she was young. The novel is set in the period from the 1940s to the 1970s, with her husband being sent to a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution.

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