Female Dishonor in The Death of Woman Wang - Essay Example

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Female Dishonor in The Death of Woman Wang

Woman Wang is an ill-fated personage who symbolizes the pervasive silence or constrained muffling of women. Spence unearths the judicial system in the Qing dynasty and demonstrates the odds which were against women. Woman Wang does not speak much and one observes that her husband and illicit lover are the ones who hold primary discourse. Because of the shameful circumstances surrounding her ignominious death, the law dictates that no one has the right to touch her. Only another old village woman can do a post-mortem examination to probe the cause of death. Woman Wang, as a result, attained an ‘untouchable’ and outcast position.  “Throughout much of Chinese history, mortal-moral women have been held in highest esteem…the one central characteristic of their appeal was that they served as moral exemplars… role models and as ideal cultural archetypes” (Peterson) Chinese historic annals applaud chaste women. On the other hand, the dishonored women would fade into oblivion, names forgotten or expunged from records. The survival of the mini-narratives through Spence’s account signifies that even the women with alleged marred reputations still deserved a place in history and their tales mentioned.  Illegitimate legal practices riddled the Chinese justice system, ensuring that women would be voiceless or unable to prosecute their abusers. Women were labeled as natural fornicators; therefore, cases of rape go unpunished. The prejudiced system comprised of Emperor, magistrates, diplomats, literati, and husbands. ...Show more

Summary

In the paper “Female Dishonor in The Death of Woman Wang” the author analyzes a novel by Jonathan Spence, which encapsulates the stories of unfortunate women who suffer because of their unprivileged status as women. Spence fixates on the theme of women and their lot as victims in a society.

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