'Analysis of a Daughter of Han

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As the Qing dynasty came to a close, the lives of many Chinese people in Northern China were very difficult. The transition to the 20th century brought many challenges for the lower-class, including Japanese imposition, poverty, and wide-spread opium addiction. These difficulties were especially demanding of the Chinese women, who were forced to deal with the challenges of child bearing and matched marriages as early as 14 years old. Ning Lao Tai Tai is an example of a working class woman who had to fight for her entire life just to survive. She deems the misfortune of herself and the women in her family on 'fate' and 'bad destiny', however I believe there were real concrete factors and choices that contributed to the depressing lives of these women. One of these factors was the cultural belief in early marriage, which negatively affected Ning Lao Tai Tai, her daughter Mantze, and her sister Yintze. Other factors included the plagues of opium addiction and incurable diseases which also adversely haunted Ning's family. It's fairly easy to understand why the Chinese at the turn of the century insisted on marrying their daughters so early. With short life expectancy and the constant threat of disease, a young woman's best bet at reproduction was in her adolescent years. However, in the cases of both Ning Lao Tai Tai and her older sister Yintze, who were thrown into very unstable marriages, it made their lives much more problematic. Yintze had a decent enough husband, but her mother-in-law was unfair and highly abusive which would eventually lead her to insanity. On the other hand, Lao Tai Tai's marriage was set up by a 'professional matchmaker', who set her up with a husband who was hopelessly addicted to opium. He spent nearly all they had to fuel his addiction, and Lao Tai Tai and her daughter suffered severe poverty and hunger for many years because of her

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