Final Take-Home Exams
|The role of "family" in the texts about Chinese diaspora.|
Family, which is multifunctional, is a major theme in both Floating Life and The Concubine¡¦s Children. For some Chinese diasporas, family, undoubtedly, plays a role that unites the scattered family members together. However, it could also be a constraint to its members and that is why conflicts frequently arouse in Chinese diasporic families. In a sense, a house, the concrete form of family that roots deeply down to earth creates the sense of belongingness of Chinese people. Family also has its spiritual function, namely, the interrelations and the mutual bonds among family members which perform a role as comfort and consolation.
In Floating Life and The Concubine¡¦s Children, the multiple roles family plays to Chinese diasporas are explicitly shown. To the grandfather in The Concubines Children, the concrete form of family, that is to say, a house on his fatherland, pushes him to invest a great amount of money in building a house in Mainland China. What family means to him is not the feeling he shares with his family members but an object that roots firmly into the earth and enables him to get sense of security and belongingness. To Mai Ying, family, for sure, that is created by the marriage out of her willingness is a constraint setting limitation to her. She prefer giving her husband money with which his is able to go back to China to keeping him aside and enjoys union of the family. To the eldest daughter in Floating Life family is more than a place which provides her room to dwell in. Though she has a nice house in Germany, she is still unable to feel that she is settled down. Without her mother and father, her house is but an object from which she fails to receive any comfort and consolation. She rather feels being incomplete because of her drifting away from her parents who stand for a part of her. Similar problems happen on the second daughter who lives in Australia. At the very beginning, Ping, the second daughter seems to be a woman who quite relies on the support of her family. In this period, she lives in a house without trees. The house which has no trees symbolizes her being floating, unable to settle down and bears the sense of losing one¡¦s root. However, being forced to be independent, she cuts off the relations with her family members. Transforming her rely on her family, she buys a house that is bright and clean and asks her parents and brothers to come over and live with her. Obviously, Pin¡¦s changing comes from her being unable to get any comfort and consolation when she first comes to Australia. Since her family fails to console her, she loses her balance because of the struggling between her Chinese identity and the intention to assimilate with the host nation.
Family has its respective functions to Chinese diasporas. Some regard it as the way to unite scattered family members, while some feel constrained by it. It could be the origin of love and comfort that help Chinese diasporas to get the sense of belongingness; however, it also could be where hatred and injury stem from.
The concept of family is very important to Chinese, because form the ancient time, ¡§ family¡¨ has become Chinese people¡¦s focus in life. Most Chinese only feel their existence when they are with their family. In the film Floating Life, this idea is emphasized. Ping has a house in Canada, but she is not happy there. When her parents and brother come to Canada to live with her, she controls their life in many ways. And this make allof them no happy. The house becomes a house without affection. Therefore, her parents find a house for themselves. The fatehr wants to plant some trees and flowers in his new house. He wants to create a feeling of house. Though before moving into this new house, he missed his old house very much, now he can move his affection to his new house. This means that the place doesn¡¦t matter for a family, but the affection. With her family¡¦s help, Ping starts to re accept the place in a new way. And Gar-Min comes to join his family, the ending shows that the house with affection cure Chinese diasporas¡¦ wounded hearts. ¡§ Family¡¨ in Concubine¡¦s children is an obstacle to May-Ying, she suffered a lot for her family, and it is family that makes be tough in Canadian society.