Jumping Through Hoops
Autobiographical Stories by Modern Chinese Women Writers
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
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My sincere gratitude goes to Julia Watson. Without her insight and support, it would have taken much longer for this book to take shape. I am indebted to Patrick Riley and Yanfang Tang for their valuable suggestions. I also thank Tani Barlow, Xiaomei Chen, Jinhua Dai, Perry Link, and Patricia Sieber for their encouragement.
About the Translators
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This collection of autobiographical narratives produced in China during World War II testifies to the diverse ways in which modern Chinese women writers tell the stories of their lives. It showcases the nine writers' extraordinary experiences included in Xie Bingying's (1906-2000) classic anthology entitled Selected Autobiographies of Women Writers (N� zuojia zizhuan xuanji, 1945).
How I Left My Mother
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"Mother is so highborn in her manners," I thought, "and she puts a lot of stress on 'status.' How could she have waited for me in the reception room with all the servants there? I remember that when I first moved into the school dorm, mother was very upset that I would condescend so much as to share a room with poor girls. Maybe my classmates mistook someone else's mother for mine.
Jumping Through Hoops
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Despair and hope had battled in me for quite some time now. A fire burned in my heart. Hot blood rushed like ocean waves. Although I had an iron will, an overwhelming force pressed me down, almost crushing my mind and body! I always longed to fly, fly, fly — like a bird caged for a long time. I struggled so bitterly to escape that my mind and body were extremely fatigued, like weathered flowers.
Imprints of Life
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Lost times have gradually evaporated from my memory like a thin cloud and a light fog. Yet the sadness and joy remain. The leftover traces weave into the fabric of my current thoughts like delicate threads, making a blurred and misty picture. If I spread out this picture and take a look at it, I may not necessarily find it beautiful. On the contrary, part of it still bleeds.
A Journey of Twenty-Seven Years
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I will write down here the story of a twenty-seven-year-old woman. Readers will probably consider it strange, for the collection which includes this narrative already indicates its nature. But why do I not directly say: "I will write down my own story here"? Let me now explain the reason, which is my motive for writing.
A Brief Autobiography
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I am a native of Changsha, Hunan, but I was born in Anqing, Anhui, as Father held an official position there. It wasn't until I was four and Father fell gravely ill that my family returned to Changsha. Father passed away before long and left behind Mother, my three sisters, and me. That happened in the early Republican years. At the time, my elder sister was ...
Midpoint of an Ordinary Life
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Xieduo Mountain was a small village. Right next to the road linking Anhua and Xinhua, it saw travelers come and go all day long. Especially in July and August in the lunar calendar, villagers heading for Mount Heng to worship the Sage King of Southern Yue would walk by in groups, chanting songs of worship all the way. In the quiet of the night, their singing would occasionally wake us up.
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I grew up in the countryside. My family was fairly well-to-do in the county as my ancestors had been very diligent for generations. When Grandfather was a young man, he and his brother worked closely together, so the family prospered. Grandfather toiled away all year round in the fields alongside his hired laborers and eventually died from constant exhaustion.
Can This Also Be Called an Autobiography?
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Northern China was lovely. In autumn, it was not too cold nor too warm, the sunlight soft and pleasant. Oftentimes, a gentle breeze passed, lightly caressing my lonesome heart like a mother's hand. Fallen leaves swirled and drifted in the fields. The earth acquired a brownish color. Crickets sang their clear, lusty, and melodious tunes. I always had special feelings for such a landscape.
Self-Criticism and Self-Encouragement: A Short Autobiography of a Journalist
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I have been a journalist for four years now, and will probably continue with this job. Yet I feel compelled to say that I became a journalist accidentally. A person without long-term plans and foresight, coincidence is the story of my life.
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Page Count: 254
Publication Year: 2003