Wild Swans Chapter Summary

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Wild Swans begins as Jung Chang, the author, leaves China to go to Great Britain on an academic scholarship. She would complete her education at York University and obtain a doctorate in linguistics. When her mother came to visit she shared family history with Chang, which encouraged Chang to return to China and begin research for her book. Wild Swans consists of events that impacted China in extremely negative emotional and psychological ways. Each chapter is titled with a saying of the time that summarizes the event taking place. For example, chapter fourteen is titled “Father is Close, Mother is Close, but Neither is as Close as Chairman Mao” and the chapter is focused around the “cult of Mao.” Chang’s grandmother, Yu-fang is bartered at fifteen years old to become the concubine of a warlord of the Manchu Empire. Her father was only a petty officer and this would elevate his status and eventually he would have two concubines himself, which was a sign of prominence. At two years old Yu-fang had her feet bound, a painful practice Chinese women were subjected to because small feet were considered beautiful. This left her helpless to walk on her own so she…show more content…
Amid suffering, ruin, and death, I had above all known love and the indestructible human capacity to survive ant to pursue happiness” (527). Chang sees both negative and positive sides of humanity and is able to sensibly balance her perception toward both suffering and happiness. She ends the book with a sense of hopefulness for the future. As she is leaving China and making her way to Great Britain, she acknowledges her past and turns to the future. Although she has experienced great oppression, horrible ways of living, and even death, she holds faith in the rest of the world, that she may live a better life after
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