The Headless Jia Yong Character Analysis

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In the past, a man’s honor meant everything. It was the most important thing to have and it determined what kind of person one would be. Commonly, a man with honor would be recorded into history and reach immortality, in a sense. With no honor, one was not much better than an animal. In modern society, honor no longer holds the same importance as it once did. In a realistic world where there are many things to worry about, idealistic values such as honor cannot be sustained as easily. In much of the Chinese stories of the past, retaining honor was the most important thing. If a man did not have his honor, he would be better off dead. Death was gladly welcomed so long as by doing so, he would be able to retain his honor and keep from tarnishing his reputation. This is clearly seen in the story of “The Headless Jia Yong” in the book, In Search of Deities. Jia Yong was a governor sent to fight against enemy troops when he was defeated and decapitated. However, Jia Yong was skilled in magic and was able to rise and return to his army camp. It was there that he explains that by losing the battle his honor has been tarnished. Despite being skilled in Daoist magic and having the ability to reattach his head to his body, Jia Yong chose death. He felt that death would be able to…show more content…
This is partially seen in the movie, The Children of Huang Shi, when George Hogg and Chen Hansheng are discussing the Nationalists and the Communists. In the film, the Japanese armies are attacking China and massacring the people. However, also during that time, the Nationalists and Communists were locked in a civil war. Honor would dictate that these two opposing factions set aside their differences for the time being in order to combat the foreign troops killing their people. However, they care little for honor and choose to continue fighting each other. This allows the Japanese to slip into China and wreak havoc on the
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