Under conventional patriarchy, women and children within the domestic setting are seemingly protected from various external threats. Meanwhile, the hegemony of domestic lives makes women forever ignorant of patriarchal subordination. In China, such hegemony originates from Confucianism, which was also the principal doctrine that governed social conventions. My paper serves to investigate whether the Confucian values that restrict Chinese women to domesticity and patriarchal obedience are being re-centered due to the influx of imported values. Through exploring Chinese writings across generations, I aim to demonstrate how Chinese women strike back against the victimizing power of Confucianism in silencing them through authorized violence.The literary works selected for analysis were produced when Confucius’ teachings were threatened by imported ideologies. Kwan Han-hsin wrote his famous Chinese tragedy The Injustices Done to Tou Ngo when China was under the repressive Mongolian regime. In this play, Tou Ngo is depicted as the daughter of a Confucian scholar who resists against the corrupted nature of Confucian doctrines. Being affected by modern ideas from the West, Lu Xun illustrates the typical fate of Chinese women through the portrayal of an unusual Chinese woman in “The New Year Sacrifice”. As a Chinese-American writer in today’s interconnected world, Maxine Hong Kingston realizes the hindrance that conventional bounds have upon the lives of Chinese women. In The Woman Warrior, she expresses the need for Chinese women to rebel against the constraints of domestic life.This research paper is supported by the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong(IDS project UGC/IDS16/16).
Chi Sum Garfield Lau, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong