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The Golden Cangue Eileen Chang
Transcript of The Golden Cangue Eileen Chang
The Golden Cangue
Summary: It’s a story about a woman called Qiqiao Cao, who is from a poor family. She is forced by her family to marry a cripple Zhongze from the wealthy family Jiang. At the same time, she is in love with Zhongze’s brother Jize. She alienates her in-laws and her own family who wants to keep contact, and she finally grow crazy. After the death of her husband, she inherits some fortune and gains independence but she takes out her frustration from life on her own children. People believe this story is structurally based on the eighteenth-century Chinese novel The Dream of Red Chamber (Hong Lou Meng), one of the Four Great Classical Chinese Novels.
Family of Jiang
Oldest Son: Boze Wife： Daizhen
Second Son: Zhong Ze Wife: Qiqiao Cao
Changbai (son) Wife: Zhishou-Juan Guniang
Changan (daughter) Lover: Shifang Tong
Third Son: Jize Wife:Lanxian
Fourth Son: Yunze
Symbols and Themes
the sound of harmonica "Long, long ago"
reoccuring moonlight description
women's rights (education, foot-binding)
social and family hierarchy
Qiqiao's life, what lead to her insanity:
Can't fit in with her in-laws
Conflicts with her brother
Conflicts with her children
Loves Jize, but can't have him
Desire of money, money = status
Addiction to Opium
1 Do you empathize Qiqiao for the first part of the story where she seems like a victim?
2 What does the gold cangue symbolize?
3 Were you suprised at how Qiqiao inflicts her problems on her children?
4 How does Mr. Tong (Changan and Mr. Tong loved each other) view Qiqiao and her family?
For thirty years now she had worn a golden cangue. She had used its heavy edges to chop down several people; those that did not die were half killed (234)
"Long, Long Ago"-- "Tell me the tales that to me were so dear, long, long ago, long ago..." This was now, but in the twinkling of an eye it would have become long, long ago, and everything would be over (229).