Spring Moon and the History of China

Essay by emmachaseHigh School, 12th gradeA, December 2007

download word file, 5 pages 4.1

1079 WordsSpring Moon and the History of ChinaBette Bao Lord, in her novel, Spring Moon, follows the upheavals in China during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries as China moves from an imperial monarchy to a socialist country we see the changes through the lens of one influential family. As history unfolds and changes occur in Chinese society comparable changes happen within the small worlds of the Chang clan. Specific historical events from the Boxer Rebellion, through the revolution and Long March to the opening of China in the 1970’s are mirrored within the plot of Spring Moon. So to are cultural changes as China struggles with their old traditions such as the place of women in their society and the move from the old educational system to a more modern view.

Very early in the story we see that members of the Chang clan are more forward thinking than the general society in which they live.

As early as 1885, Venerable, the Patriarch of the Chang clan, sends his eldest son, Bold Talent, to America to study, saying, “ the conservatives in Peking have shut down the Tung Wen Kwan for foreign studies and recalled all government students from abroad. We who oppose them must now send our people to study independently” (Lord 30). This corresponds to the actual history when, in 1881, the Dowager Empress Cixi, began to distrust foreigners and forbid Chinese students to study abroad (Buschini 1).

From 1898 through the summer of 1901, the Boxers, members of a secret society called Fists of Righteous Harmony, attacked foreigners, Christian missionaries and converted Chinese. When they finally surrounded the compound of foreign diplomats and their families an international military force came in and crushed the Boxers. They then forced China to sign the humiliating Boxer Protocol,