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by Eileen Chang,David Der-Wei Wang

ePub The Rice Sprout Song download
Eileen Chang,David Der-Wei Wang
University of California Press; Reprint edition (August 10, 1998)
History & Criticism
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The Rice Sprout Song is a 1955 novel by Eileen Chang (Zhang Ailing)

The Rice Sprout Song is a 1955 novel by Eileen Chang (Zhang Ailing). It was her first attempt at writing fiction in English and with it, she addresses political issues relevant to early 20th Century China in a far more direct approach than she was ever akin to. The novel depicts the extreme ruthless nature of the land redistribution movement of the Communist regime

Rice Sprout Song book. Eileen Chang, David Der-wei Wang (Foreword).

Rice Sprout Song book. The first of Eileen Chang's novels to be written in English, The. The first of Eileen Chang's novels to be written in English, "The Rice-Sprout Song" portrays the horror and absurdity that the land-reform movement brings to a southern village in China during the early 1950s.

The Rice Sprout Song. Eileen (Ai-Ling) Chang has created a brilliant portrait of a young girl going mad because of the patriarchal, recyclic system, in which women are regarded as merely a reproductive opportunity. The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai (Weatherhead Books on Asia). Whether one sees Yindi as a coward or a victim, one thing is certainly true, she does not have a choice. Like Flaubert's Madame Bovary or any of Austen's female characters, regardless of their status and intelligence, marriage and death are the only two options.

Guo Su’e carries on an affair with a local worker, Zhang Zhenshan, while another worker, Wei Haiqing, secretly falls in love with her.

The rice-sprout song, 1954), by Zhang Ailing (Eileen Chang, 1920–1995); and Cai Qianhui in Shanlu (Mountain path, 1983), by Chen Yingzhen (Ch’en Ying-chen, b. 1939). In each of these works, the writers observe how hunger affects a woman’s fate, and, more poignantly, how writing about hunger entails a tension between digestive and diegetic imagination, and metabolic and metaphoric action. Guo Su’e carries on an affair with a local worker, Zhang Zhenshan, while another worker, Wei Haiqing, secretly falls in love with her.

The first of Eileen Chang's novels to be written in English, The Rice-Sprout Song portrays the horror and . Another one of Eileen Chang's translations of her Chinese works, this is an excellent novel about China's farmers and the struggles they encounter as a result of Maoism in China

The first of Eileen Chang's novels to be written in English, The Rice-Sprout Song portrays the horror and absurdity that the land-reform movement brings to . .Another one of Eileen Chang's translations of her Chinese works, this is an excellent novel about China's farmers and the struggles they encounter as a result of Maoism in China. Unlike the latter, The Rice-Sprout Song is much easier to find, and now includes an excellent introduction by David Wang. The book begins with the wedding of Gold Flower T'an, the sister of Gold Root T'an. The Rice Sprout Song. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955. For example, a bride would be escorted by her family to the groom's house in a carriage where there would later be a wedding banquet hosted by the groom's family.

The previous book by Eileen Chang I read, The Rice Sprout Song, was sponsored by the US government as propaganda against the Chinese Communist regime. That meant that it wasn't exactly just Chang's work (and indeed the foreward here by David Der-wei Wang mentions that Chang was annoyed by how much politics she had to put into the book). The Rouge of the North was written a decade later and without that same sponsorship, so it's in that sense more true to Chang's creative vision. Yindi is a young woman who works in her brother's sesame oil store in Shanghai.

The Rouge of the North. Foreword by David Der-Wei Wang. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998 (1966).

Discover Book Depository's huge selection of David Der Wei Wang books online. A New Literary History of Modern China. Free delivery worldwide on over 20 million titles.

The Rice Sprout Song: a Novel of Modern China (tr. of 秧. of 秧歌 by the author) HC. ISBN 0-520-21437-4, PB. ISBN 0-520-21088-3. A 20-episode TV series, The Legend of Eileen Chang, written by Wang Hui-ling and starring Rene Liu, was aired in Taiwan in 2004. Malaysian singer Victor Wong wrote a song titled "Eileen Chang" ("Zhang Ailing") in 2005. Science Fiction," a chapter from the book Daughter by Taiwanese writer Lo Yi-chin in 駱以軍 and translated by Thomas Moran and Jingling Chen, features quotations and themes from Eileen Chang's writings and life, in the collection The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of Chinese Science Fiction, ed.

The first of Eileen Chang's novels to be written in English, The Rice-Sprout Song portrays the horror and absurdity that the land-reform movement brings to a southern village in China during the early 1950s. Contrary to the hopes of the peasants in this story, the redistribution of land does not mean an end to hunger. Man-made and natural disasters bring about the threat of famine, while China's involvement in the Korean War further deepens the peasants' misery. Chang's chilling depiction of the peasants' desperate attempts to survive both the impending famine and government abuse makes for spellbinding reading. Her critique of communism rewrites the land-reform discourse at the same time it lays bare the volatile relations between politics and literature.
  • A few days before I left China, a friend handed me two books by Eileen Chang, an author who for a long time had been on my list but who I never actually got around to reading. I read one of them, The Rice-Sprout Song, on my flight home from China nearly a month ago, and a day hasn't gone by that I haven't thought about it at least once. Although it came out in 1955 and there's no need for yet another review, I had to put down a few thoughts.

    The Rice-Sprout Song is set in China's countryside during the early days of Mao's tyranny, when "land reform" promised the rural poor great hope that would soon lead to the horrors of collectivization, famine and death on a scale that was until then unimaginable. It's a desolate book about a terrible subject we all know about but have, in all likelihood, never truly experienced, hunger. Its metaphor for hunger is the watery gruel the poor eat for every meal as they slowly starve.

    That this was Chang's first English novel is extraordinary, it is so perfectly crafted, its characters so real and the language assured and perfect. The book has two heroes, a "model worker" in the village, Gold Root, and his wife Moon Scent. After many pages of bleakness, we detect the first hints of joy in Gold Root's longing for Moon Scent, who has gone to work in Shanghai as a maid. He misses her so intensely he travels to Shanghai, his first time out of the countryside, to spend a few days with her, a sad event marked by Gold Root's sense of isolation and awkwardness, his crushing poverty contrasted by "bejeweled ladies going to parties in their shiny silk gowns and high-heeled gold shoes."

    Chang tells how a cadre from the city is sent down to their village to live exactly as the peasants do and learn from them, and soon he, too, is starving. Only he has the resources to go to a nearby town and stuff himself with tea-boiled eggs, as he denies the hunger in his reports. He notes to himself that anyone who suggests there is truth to the whispers that the poor are starving will immediately be labeled a nationalist spy and put to death. Gold Root and Moon Scent are both doomed, victims of the insanity that grew out of Mao's policies. Gold Root is outraged that officials deny that the peasants are starving to death. He will soon pay for his insistence on speaking the truth, dragging Moon Scent down with him.

    The oddest character in the book is the village's leading official, Comrade Wong, a jovial, likable man. Chang devotes many pages to humanizing him, telling how he met his beloved wife and how she left him, describing his loneliness and his knowledge that he will never rise from being a low-level functionary. We think Wong is a good man - and he probably is. But when the day comes that he meets with the starving peasants and tells them each must donate a pig as a gift to the army and prepare rice dumplings for the soldiers, we hate him with a passion. Gold Root cries out that they are literally starving, they have nothing. Wong beams with a wide smile and insists that surely they can accommodate this modest request for their country's brave soldiers. It is the high point of the book and it marks Gold Root's descent from "Model Worker" to an outraged, infuriated rebel clamoring for justice. Of course, he will soon be labeled a reactionary, and will be shot to death in the ensuing violence.

    The words of my Chinese teacher in Beijing kept coming back to me as I read this book: her telling me how her family grew up hungry, and how no matter what the Chinese government did today, she and all other Chinese would feel unending gratitude that the days of hunger were over. Nothing matters when you are hungry; only food. Today, the Chinese people are no longer starving, and that shift, from starvation to having enough food on the table, was a seismic one. For anyone seeking to understand how the Chinese people can accept a government that censors, steals, enriches itself from the poverty of its people and thinks nothing of their human rights, I suggest they read this book. It doesn't touch on any of these topics per se, but it shows you all too vividly what life was like not so long ago (and Chang's account deals with China prior to the great famine; the horror was only just beginning). And then you look at China today, my teacher's China. No matter what we think of the government, hundreds of millions who were starving saw their situations turn around. For some 200 million or so, their poverty stayed the same or became even worse, but for the vast majority, it was a new world: they had food. As you read The Rice-Sprout Song, it becomes clearer just why the government today is given so much latitude, whether it was the CCP that put food on the people's tables or their own hard work once Mao's insanities were thrown on the rubbish heap where they belonged. When you have gone from generations of hunger to having food, you've undergone a sea change, a miracle. There has been no other turnaround like it in the history of civilization. So I understand what my Chinese teacher was telling me, whether I agree or not.

    Corrupt officials still terrorize the countryside, and perhaps they always will; the exploitation of the marginalized by the powerful is history's oldest story. What this book does is make palpable the helplessness of China's rural poor, placing the reader in their freezing huts as the government's absurd decrees destroy their lives, chipping away at their dignity, ultimately killing them wholesale. In one of its most heartbreaking scenes, soldiers ransack their homes, stealing the very last bits of food they have hidden away. The peasants' calamity is complete; they have no recourse, no hope, nothing but their hunger.

    If you've never read this book, which Chang wrote in English (another source of amazement), I urge you to get a copy. It can easily be read in a day or two, and it will leave you furious, anguished, dumbstruck and horrified. You'll hear the voices of its characters in your head for a long time to come, and no matter how well you already understand the famine and Maoism and land reform, you will feel like you are right there, living the insanity. That is not a comfortable feeling, but one that will make your compassion for the Chinese people richer and deeper than ever before.

  • Eileen Chang is wonderful writer who deftly weaves enough background into her stories to let you see the customs. beliefs, and living conditions of the people she depicts. I came to her work via a short story, "Red Rose, White Rose," that dealt with urban China of the mid-50s. "Rice-Sprout Song" refers to dance and chant people did to celebrate the "liberation" of the Communist regime. Chang shows how alleged cultural advances and land reapportionment did as much harm as good. She is sly. She simply says what happens and lets you supply the politics or the opinion about whether something is beneficial or defeating. The translation is a bit stodgy, and it is wise to go with the stories being told until they culminate in an event that involves all of the characters. "Rice=Sprout" song was an enlightening read, as it acquainted me with a time, place, and tradition of which I was unaware. The story of peasant life in a re-forming China also held interest.

  • Another communist filled novel from the author which is very sad at the end. You can see why her works were banned at one time after reading this one. Short read, but glad to add another to my Eileen Chang collection.

  • The Old Master who collected Chinese wisdom in Tao Te Ching some 2,500 years ago wrote pithily:
    "The sage never has a mind of his own;
    He considers the minds of the common people to be his mind."
    Today, he would not change a word for the sage: the sheng-jen in Beijing. True, modern China, a colossus of 1.2 billion people, is fronted by Shanghai and other booming, skyscrapered, fiber-opticked, globally connected metropolises. But beyond the urban fronts, reality is 900 million peasants--75% of the total population--living a rural, feudal life with Marxist trappings. What gives the Beijing mandarin insomnia is not rhetorical exchanges with America like we saw earlier in 2001. No, it's much more the primal fear bad weather and bad crops might visit hunger upon the 900 million--if the peasants go hungry, the government goes down and chaos surely follows. Chaos, for the Chinese mind, being anathema (off the Tao, hindering wu-wei).
    The Rice-Sprout Song by Eileen Chang (1920-95), first published in 1955, deftly evokes rural Chinese life in the early days of the Maoist Revolution. Though well known to Chinese readers everywhere, Chang's work has only recently been in print again for English readers. In 1998, three years after her death, the University of California reissued this novel and a companion work, The Rouge of the North.
    Chang, a giant in Chinese literature, wrote and lived a self-proclaimed aesthetic of desolation, especially after immigrating to the United States in the mid-Fifties. A Garbo-esque recluse, Chang was found dead in a barren Hollywood, California, studio apartment. Her will asked that her body be "cremated instantly, the ashes scattered in any desolate spot, over a fairly wide area, if on land." If Chang, as she said, was haunted by thoughts of desolation, then The Rice-Sprout Song shows a corollary to her artistic hunger: Her writing transcends any simple, obvious political interpretation of her material. Neither pro-Mao nor anti-Mao, but a literary meditation on peasant lives caught up in the ironies of political will and human need when hunger stalks the countryside.
    The Rice-Sprout Song gets underway with a common family event: a wedding. Gold Flower of T'an Village will marry Plenty Own Chou of neighboring Chou Village. This might not be a joyous occasion for Chang begins to summon the isolation and loneliness of village life: "Sunlight lay across the street like an old yellow dog, barring the way. The sun had grown old here." Yes, even that universal restorer of the spirit--the sun--can be menacing. That all is not right when the festive wedding occasion arrives is shown by note of the "inferior food" that of necessity is served. Big Uncle complains that he cannot see the rice in his bowl of watery gruel. This jho mush--anything but solid rice--becomes one thematic particular for hunger that haunts this novel.
    If Chang were less an artist, the reader's easy-to-hate nemesis would be Comrade Wong, the kan pu of T'an Village, the local representative of the Party. For it is Comrade Wong's unenviable task to carry out a political action showing support for the People's Liberation Army in their fight on the Korean front: a gift the peasants cannot afford: half a pig and forty catties of rice cakes from each family. But before this leads to the tragic end to The Rice-Sprout Song, we follow, in flashback, Wong as he finds the love of his life, Shah Ming. He loses her in the vagaries of fighting for the PLA. When at last he sees her again, she waves from a window in the facade of a collapsed building on the battlefield. Inside the building, Wong sees only rubble and overhead, at the window, nothing. He knows his hallucination proved Shah Ming was saying good-bye from beyond. For Comrade Wong, fate gave him nothing but the Party.
    We also see dramatic irony when Comrade Ku, the city intellectual, comes to live in T'an Village, to learn the ways of the peasants. His goal of a movie script about village life suffers from writer's block; he habitually sneaks off to another town to buy food to eat on the sly. And when Big Aunt, who spouts Communist rhetoric that is appallingly upbeat, breaks down in a fit of anger. She says they are all empty-bellied and she doesn't care if she is reported. And when Moon Scent, the wife of Gold Root, returns from working three years as a maid in Shanghai. A force to be reckoned with, Moon Scent, in an act of righteous anger, gives this tragedy its capstone.
    Essential reading that shares the texture, the heritage, and the yearnings of nearly a billion of our fellow earthlings, search out this reissue of The Rice-Sprout Song. As one t'ai chi ch'uan teacher said, "Perfect doesn't exist. Near-perfect does." The Rice-Sprout Song is a "near-perfect" evocation of the common people in the timeless Middle Kingdom.