Raise The Red Lantern

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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The story of Raise the Red Lantern is about the life of a 19-year-old girl, Songlian who married a rich old man as his forth concubine. She was forced to marry him by her stepmother because her father had passed away. From then on, Songlian has to fight for her own power in the family, that is, to gain the chance to light up her lantern which means the master, Chen would stay with her for the night but not the other wives. However she is not happy with the rules of the house, the rivalries between wives as well as the loneliness she has to bear. She even can¡¦t get along with her maid, Yan¡¦er. With lots of incidents happened which finally drove her crazy.

In the film, we can detect the low status of women in society as well as in the family. Women have to live in a closed, dictatorial house and are not allowed to work outside in the society like the master, Chen. They are either wives or concubines or servants. Though they may have little power, theirs are only a domestic ones, and their power is just to influence other women.

In the family, they have to share a husband. They are just like men¡¦s toys. Every night Chen can choose who he wants to join for the night. But what about the concubines? Standing there like prostitutes waiting for the result of whose lantern would be light up. Their life-long career is to serve men. It is clear to us that women need to depend on men in that family. Their struggle for the chance to bear a male child is the only way for them to gain a little bit more power. The film also indicates the low status of women...