Daughter of Han
If you were born in China before the twentieth century you would know Confucian gender values and ideology. The upper-class e women were taught through studying the Confucian texts and they knew what was required to move up in class. The lower class was most women did not know how to find loupe holes in Confucian values, so they followed the rules very strictly. It was a lot easier for men to follow the gender rules. It was harder for women because lower class women had to leave the inner quarters because they need to feed there family’s. In “A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Women” by Ida Pruitt, it is a first-hand look at the life of a lower class women in the late late-Imperial China. Ning Lao Taitai’s life is described and how as a lower class women and her struggle with Confucian values.
Ning pre-married life was much like girls of upper class families. She was able to play with any children, it didn’t matter what gender, until she was thirteen. At thirteen her hair was braided and was taught to cook and clean. This was normal for girls who followed Confucius gender rules. When Ning’s mother was dying was kept by her side to make sure she would be able to go on her “journey”. IN the early part of her marriage she tried to stay true to the Confucian gender code of women in her house. She said “A women could not go out of the court we women knew nothing but to comb our hair and bind our feet and wait at home for our men.” (Pruitt, p. 55)
As time went on she decided to go out and find work to support herself and her children. She worked until her youngest son was married, which was typical Confucian family. Ning followed the Confucian beliefs on a primary duty of women saying “It is the destiny of woman and her happiness to carry on the life stream.” (Pruitt, p. 153) Ning did not follow the rules regarding women staying within the household and matters of widow chastity. She was not chaste widow even though she...