Hands by Xiao Hong - A Literary Essay Sample

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Boston College
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Hand a story written by Xiao Hong is a narrative that revolves around Wang Yaming, the daughter of a Dyer who joins a girls school with the expectation of bettering her life and that of her family through the undertaking of education. The writer uses this narrative to promote social change and presents the current political ideologies. From the narrative, Wang Yaming goes through racial discrimination from the principal and other students because of her skin color. The other students tease her mercilessly because of her dull Haw-Haw, poor English, and dye blackened hands (Xiao, 175). When her father comes to school to visit, Wang Yaming asks him for a pair of gloves that she can use to cover her hands, but the narrator notices that Wang Yamings fathers hands are even blacker. The principal also laughs at Wang Yaming for putting on gloves by telling her that she would not be like others, even she tries to.

From this narrative several social issues come out. Uniforms are ideally used to eliminate class distinctions among a group of people. When uniforms are worn, people are not able to tell who can or cannot afford designer clothes, shoes or other brands of accessories. Uniforms are also used to ensure there is unity and cohesion as well as to eliminate distractions within an institution. However, in this narrative, Wang Yumings dingy uniform fails to serve this purpose.

Wang Yuming hands on the other hand are an indication of where she comes from. Her family is not well off, and she believes that education can help improve her life and that of her family. Through education, one can improve their lives in terms of wealth, as well as develop culturally, and socially. Wang Yaming brings out this interesting purpose of education. She has an interesting mix of naivety with a drive to succeed and a quiet dignity. Sometimes, even with this drive, such people fail in life due to circumstances. When her father arrives that morning, she asks Wang Yuming is she has created a wall out of school, but she explains, No. We have not even done the exams (186). She further explains that the principal had refused her to take the exams, as the principal thought she could not pass them anyway (186). In the case of Wang Yaming, she does not lose hope or composure even after being ridiculed by her classmates and teachers (Xiao, 174). Instead, she brings out the emblem of the working class of people who are always striving to better their lives.

This narration mostly represents the Chinese population that is compassionate and who are striving to improve their lives through education and progress. Elements of the writers life that indicate her presence in the narrative are brought out. Historically, Xiao Hong experience in school was almost similar to that of Wang Yaming. She had a strained relationship with her father, and she uses her experiences to explore the gender issues in society. Xiao Hong is able to bring out the social issues and change because her writing does not have a progressive bent.

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