Bound Feet Western Dress In China a woman is nothing Thus begins the saga of a woman born at the turn of the century to a well to do highly respected Chinese family a woman who continually defied the expectations of her fa

  • Title: Bound Feet & Western Dress
  • Author: Pang-Mei Natasha Chang Jennifer Ann Daddio
  • ISBN: 9780385479646
  • Page: 414
  • Format: Paperback
  • In China, a woman is nothing Thus begins the saga of a woman born at the turn of the century to a well to do, highly respected Chinese family, a woman who continually defied the expectations of her family and the traditions of her culture Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist Revolution, Chang Yu i s life is marked by a In China, a woman is nothing Thus begins the saga of a woman born at the turn of the century to a well to do, highly respected Chinese family, a woman who continually defied the expectations of her family and the traditions of her culture Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist Revolution, Chang Yu i s life is marked by a series of rebellions her refusal as a child to let her mother bind her feet, her scandalous divorce, and her rise to Vice President of China s first women s bank in her later years.In the alternating voices of two generations, this dual memoir brings together a deeply textured portrait of a woman s life in China with the very American story of Yu i s brilliant and assimilated grandniece, struggling with her own search for identity and belonging Written in pitch perfect prose and alive with detail, Bound Feet and Western Dress is the story of independent women struggling to emerge from centuries of customs and duty.

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      Published :2018-08-02T22:56:19+00:00

    One thought on “Bound Feet & Western Dress”

    1. Listened to the audio version of this book. Was great to hear the author's voice even though the production quality wasn't all that great.I have been a fan of Xu Zhimo ever since I read his most famous poem "Saying Good-bye to Cambridge Again." It's a beautiful poem and even more beautiful in Chinese. My favorite stanza: "Very quietly I take my leave,As quietly as I came here;Gently I flick my sleeves,Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away."His poetry is so enchanting, beautiful, fluid.Well, [...]

    2. I really enjoy Chinese memoirs, but this one disappointed. There were some strong parts- for example, where Yu-i is forced to make it on her own in a foreign country with no knowledge of the language. But for the most part Yu-i conforms to the Confucian norms she grew up with, making for a dull tale of duty. She is not a rebellious character, and strives to the ideal wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law. It's an interesting insight into the mindset of the time, but if you're familiar with Confuci [...]

    3. Very enjoyable biography of the author's aunt, with just enough personal story from the author to make this a personal family story rather than a remote biography. This is a small story - the life story of the author's aunt. She's not a hero exactly, though she has moments of extreme grace and strength. She's not a revolutionary, though she was thrust into a more modern life than the one she'd envisioned when she found herself part of one of the first public no fault divorces in China. She lived [...]

    4. Read a quarter of this book for 9 days and finished it all off in 3 hours, I only paused for 5 minutes or so for tissues and hot tea. How can I not love this memoir? As a wife, as a woman, I wish I could depict Chang Yu-I as a life mentor. And how true her take on love is What is love, if it has no sense of responsibility!?

    5. This was possibly the best book that I've ever read. OMG. Okay, maybe not The best on my list, but possibly a tie for second. It was amazing: a lot of detail, great content, and much much more. I read this in a day, and let me tell you, it amazed me. In all the books on this genre that I'd read, this was a thriller. A switch between traditional and ancient times, two women, both marked down with 'no value' stand up for their beliefs and show their uniqueness. Strong, they stand up for their righ [...]

    6. I have cried while reading this many times. There are good things to take away, like never, NEVER saying a negative word about your in-laws to ANYBODY. I can see where some hardships could be avoided by living this way. Some of the difficult things included not being able to nurse and raise your own infant/child. In contrast, I LOVED that she nursed until she was SIX, and credits that for her strength and not getting sick! Some of the rules of filiel piety would do the world good today ("Your bo [...]

    7. I bought this on a whim from a secondhand bookshop and had neither heard of the book, the author, or the subject matter. Despite having no previous reference to this story and the importance of Yu-I and her relationship (or more specifically, the breakdown of her relationship) with Hsü Chih-mo, the gravity of their divorce in 1920s China was clear from the very beginning. Considering this, I was struck by how down-to-earth both Yu-I and the author were about their lives. While I don't doubt tha [...]

    8. I watched 《人间四月天》/ "April Rhapsody" (2000), the 20-episode series based on the life of the famous 20th-century Chinese romantic poet, Xu Zhimo / Hsü Chih-mo (徐志摩 ), on YouTube a few months ago. Unlike most viewers, I liked the character of Hsü Chih-mo's ex-wife, Zhang Youyi / Chang Yu-i (张幼仪), the most. I was amazed by her sheer inner strength to endure all the hardships and cruelty forced upon her by her ex during their marriage. Deeply moved and wow-ed by her braver [...]

    9. While the book cover calls this a dual memoir–that of the author and her Great Aunt Yu-i–to me this is more the memoir of Yu-i as verbally told and recreated on the page by her younger relative. It is mainly Yu-i’s story. And what a story it is.She was born at the very beginning of the 20th century in China. Times were changing rapidly. During the course of Yu-i’s life, she must learn how to become a more “Western” woman and still show respect for her elders and her heritage by adher [...]

    10. The beautifully told story of a remarkable life. Chang Yu-i was born in 1900 to a wealthy Shanghai family, one of 12 children, the second of four daughters. She was the first girl in her family to refuse to have her feet bound, the first to get a divorce, a successful business woman, a bank vice-president, a dutiful daughter and daughter-in-law. Her story is told by her great-niece, a first generation Chinese American who learned of Yu-i's story in her Chinese studies courses at Harvard.Yu-i was [...]

    11. I love the idea behind this autobiographical/memoir which mostly focuses on Yu-i, a woman born in China at the beginning of the 20th century who grows up and comes of age as her country moves away from its more traditional ways such as foot binding, arranged marriages, socially accepted concubines, filial responsibilities, and a abhorrent preference for sons. Yu-i's story is told by her 20-something great-niece, Pang-Mei, who was born in Connecticut and is trying to understand her American and C [...]

    12. ***1/2 Finished Bound Feet and Western Dress today. It felt very conversational, as if you were sitting in on a conversation with Yu-i and Natasha, hearing how they struggled with their own identity, their own sense of self and cultural identity. Yu-i says that in traditional China a girl was nothing, and yet the girls in her family seem valued and well-loved, though due to the family's lack of resources at a critical point they don't end up with the same advantages of education as their brother [...]

    13. As the title suggests, this is a story that describes two related women, one young and one old, who have struggled with their own identity and their Chinese cultural values. The Chang family was a famous Chinese family. Most male members of the family were scholarly and sent to the west to study. Chang Yu-i, the older woman in the family, became scholarly as well, having been tutored inside and outside of China. The eldest daughter succumbed to an opium addiction. Almost the entire family moved [...]

    14. An interesting book about Chang Yu-i's life in China. As someone who's half Chinese I understood some of the stuff I read in this book even though I was born in Malaysia and not China. The writing was done smoothly and at times I really felt like I was sitting in a room listening to Pang-Mei and Yu-i narrate their stories to each other. I am so touched by Yu-i's determination to not give up and to continue to be strong in bad times. Hsu Chih-mo was a character I disliked from beginning to end. N [...]

    15. The only reason why I read this book was because I took a Gender studies class and it is a required read. I was hooked from the cover and the summary but I fell in love with it after the first chapter. The book is a dual memoir based around two Chinese women, one from the 1900's named Yu-i and the author born around the 60's, Pang-Mei Natsha Chang. It is about two women born Chinese in a time of change yet they are generations apart, it is their struggle to identify themselves by their ideals an [...]

    16. Bound Feet & Western Dress is a nonfiction book telling the stories of Pang-Mei Natasha Chang, a young first generation Chinese American woman, and her great-aunt Chang Yu-i who was born in China in 1900. Pang-Mei Natasha Chang comes across her great-aunt's name in a history book while majoring in Chinese studies and discovers details she had never known about her great-aunt's life before she emigrated to the United States in 1974. After this discovery, she approaches her great-aunt and then [...]

    17. A gorgeous and compelling memoir. Pang-Mei Natasha Chang tells the story of her great aunt, Chang Yu-i, and the story of early twentieth century China, including interesting information related to the customs, traditions and mores of the old Chinese culture. Yu-i was one of the first Chinese woman to go through a modern divorce. She was young, poorly educated, with two children, one of whom tragically died shortly after her divorce. Yu-i transforms from a poorly educated, highly dependent woman [...]

    18. Excellent book. The picture on the cover is worth the price of the book. It is the first photograph that I have ever seen of the size of bound feet. I suppose I could have googled the image but the comparison of the "normal" shoe and that of a woman whose feet had been bound was powerful. There are a few things that would make me uncomfortable with a young teen reading this book. However, I intend to go back and list the pages of concern so that you can decide for yourself.I found this book at t [...]

    19. When Chang Yu-I was three her mother tried to bind her feet. But the child's cries so tormented her brother that he convinced their mother to stop. This break with convention foreshadowed the extraordinary life Yu-i was to lead. After following her husband, poet Hsu Chi-Mo, a noted philanderer, to Oxford, she made history by becoming the first Chinese woman to have a western-style divorce at age 22. Determined to make her own way, she moved to America and served in a series of prestigious positi [...]

    20. A fascinating telling of a period of history and the social effects it had on the society. Also illustrating that the greatest chains are those we put on ourselves.

    21. Penetrating narration that shed light on the legendary poet Xu Zhimo. Can't help but wonder if this is too one-sided. Perhaps the author could have been more objective, but maybe Xu is the one solely to blame, for his cowardice in acquiescing to marry Youyi, for taking only what he needed from the marriage (physical pleasure), and for abandoning her in pursuit of so-called (irresponsible) freedom. Shortfalls of the book would be 1) Youyi's personality lacked defining characteristics, and 2) the [...]

    22. I am very partial to oral history, so this book was a good fit for me. The author was born and raised in Connecticut by immigrants from China. Although she had always known that her paternal family was prominent in China prior to the revolution, she was surprised to see her paternal great aunt’s name in a college text book. That unexpected revelation inspired her to interview her great aunt and record her story. I was fascinated with the everyday details of life in China in the early 1900s. I [...]

    23. I very much enjoy stories which paint the vibrant life of a regular person in the historical context of a different culture, especially an oppressive one (see also "Reading Lolita in Tehran"). There is no need for this book to preach, or to beat you over your head with a message. The way Yu-i interacts with the world flows out of every page, and the lesson you take from this book is the lesson you will learn just from following her life. The story itself is but a well-written record.The level of [...]

    24. This is one of my favorite books about Chinese women dealing with the changing times that span the 20th century. The book is story of the author's grandmother mixed with and compared to her own modern life. The author's grandmother was born and raised in a world where to have unbound feet was ugly and a shameher grandmother's arranged marriage to a famous poet took her to England and Germany where her husband abandoned her with their new born sonA hard story to read, but harder to put down

    25. Although this is not the most creatively told story, it is fascinating to learn about the family dynamics of the old-fashioned Chinese family, particularly the woman's role. A couple things I learned: bound feet were considered beautiful, which meant a girl's toes were bent down (and eventually broken) to touch the heel of the foot, then wrapped with cloth. This made walking, even short distances, very painful, which is why most women just stayed home most days. A quick read and very interesting [...]

    26. I found this book on a display at the local library. I found it to be an incredible biography of an incredible family in China, Europe and eventually America. The book's main focus is the author's great aunt, but as is so true in families, one story is shared by others and their involvement changes outcomes. I enjoyed learning about the cultural norms and reading about how they were changed. While this looks back to the 1920's, it also comes right up against current times (late 90's). Engaging r [...]

    27. "in China, a woman is nothing. When she is born, she must obey her father. When she is married, she must obey her husband. And when she is widowed, she must obey her son," is how the book begins. She tells the story of the first modern divorce in China in 1922, which is her story. Womanhood, success, eastern values versus western values are all dealt with in this book. Every American woman should read it.

    28. This beautiful double memoir gives insight into the conflict between tradition and independence in the lives of two very different generations of women of one family - a great-aunt's story in early 20th century China and her great-niece's story in the late 20th century America. It was a quick read that offered a particularly interesting historical context for women in China at the end of the last dynasty and into the Republican Period.

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