Essay: Dragon’s Village
Essay: Dragon’s Village
Education is considered to be the basic factor of land reform, because actually, it is the peasants who will be “responsible for taking a census of the households, keeping accounts, and measuring the fields to be confiscated for redistribution.”(Chen, 112) So they dedicated time each day to instruct both reading and writing to most of these peasants, excluding the older ones. The younger ones, however, were unconvinced about the reform. Dragon’s Village is an autobiographical novel written by Yuan-Tsung Chen who elucidates part of the Communist plea in rural areas was actually resulting from their support of changing the ancient patriarchal traditions that conquered the countryside. Yuan-Tsung Chen has proved to be an influential person when it comes to writing Chinese history, society and government. Chen knows her past very well and understands cuts through the misinformation, to tell the truth about China’s past and the optimism that lies in its prospects to grow.
Her vision principally aligns the reader with the fruitfulness of land reform and communism. We can easily recognize the inequities under feudalism and acknowledge the fairness that lies behind the land reform. Ling-ling, the heroine of the book points out the hardships of the peasants’ lives and despite their brave attempts of survival, we as readers living in the west are not right away driven back by the idea of Communism as we have been skilled unadventurously to be. The time spanned by the book is short- barely more than the year 1950, at the beginning of Communist rule in China. Its heroine, Ling-ling (the author as a girl of eighteen), chooses not to accompany the rest of her wealthy family to Hong Kong. Instead, she bravely and idealistically joins a group of young cadres (official workers of the new regime) who travel to far Gansu Province in China’s harsh northwest to organize the peasantry for land reform. She finally takes up uneasy residence for this purpose in primitive Longxiang (Dragon Village). Her initial encounter with the villagers clarifies the problems intrinsic in attempting to transform a custom that has lasted for centuries. “Fellow villagers,” she addresses them, although both she and they know she is not a villager (Chen 77). “We have come to help you carry out the land reform. You toil on the land, day and night, all the year around, and yet you are dressed in rags and you are hungry. Why?” (Chen 77). Ling-ling is astonished that her words do not act like a magic charm and arouse the villager’s souls. She expects them to respond to her with slogans such as “Long live the land reform!” “Down with the feudal landowners!” (Chen 77).
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