Family – Essay Example
On Pa Chin’s Family Pa Chin’s Family, at a glance, appears to be simply a novel about the contradictions that developed within Chinese families as these are confronted with the changes of attitudes taking shape in the younger generation. However, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the author is attempting to present his ideological and political beliefs and how he has been able to advance these in the midst of the feudal and patriarchal traditions being upheld by the older generations. In most parts of the book though, the central theme is the contradiction or the conflict that inevitably takes place because of generational differences. At one point of the story, Che-hui, who is the youngest of the three brothers whom the plot revolves, gazed at his grandfather thought about him as an evocation of a generation. He thought about the “old man and he – the representative of the grandson’s generation – could never see eye to eye.” (Pa Chin 67)
The Family in the book reflects the Chinese society before the Revolution was won in 1949. It is not, however, the typical family of western definitions. The Kao family is huge with four households composing it under one compound. Although the households were themselves dominated by the patriarch, the grandfather, these also have their in-fighting among themselves. (Pa Chin 41) The Kao family was absolutely hierarchical with sets of rules set primarily by the patriarch and enforced by the men, particularly his sons. It is this organization and its hegemonic functions that Pa Chin constantly attacks through Che-hui’s character. The brothers would have united in their struggle to break free from the domination inherent in their family. However, although Pa Chin is critical of the hegemonic structure within their family, he also displays his acute sense of individualism in Che-Hui’s efforts to liberate himself from the clutches of his grandfather and other members of the family who represents feudal and patriarchal traditions. In this sense, Pa Chin is able to convey his anarchist convictions.
Pa Chin. Family. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1972.