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Three Inch Golden Lilies Essay

728 words - 3 pages

“Three-Inch Golden Lilies”- Concubine to a Warlord General (1909-1933)

This story talked about the experiences of the narrator’s great-grandparent and grandparent’s past. The story began by bringing up facts about the setting, which is in a town called Yixian. The narrator’s great-grandfather named Yang Ru-shan, who was born in 1894, married a woman named “Number Two Girl” because she was the second daughter. He was only fourteen at the time. The great-grandmother was six years older than the great-grandfather, and it was an arranged marriage. In Chinese tradition, falling in love was considered a disgrace. If one was lucky, he or she could fall in love later on in the marriagement.
In the following year, the narrator’s grandmother was born. At least this time, the grandmother had a more decent name, which was Yu-fang (Yu meaning “jade”, and fang meaning “fragrant flowers”). The grandmother was very beautiful; her features ...view middle of the document...

General Xue was very impressed by Yu-fang’s beauty and intelligence. Later on, General Xue proposed to the great-grandfather to allow Yu-fang to become his concubine, which was a kind of institutionalized mistress.
Yu-fang was in deep misery because General Xue soon left her for a very long period of time after the marriage. She wasn’t allowed to go out and have fun like others. She was stuck in an elaborate house that he had bought for her in Yixian so she could be with her mother. She waited six years for him to return. His return did not last for very long. After he left, Yu-fang found out she was pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl named Bao Qin, who was the narrator’s mother. A telegram ordered Yu-fang to bring her daughter to the General Xue because he was very ill. She brought Bao Qin and her sister, Lan.
When the three of them got to the mansion, Yu-Fang met General Xue’s wife. Bao Qin was considered General Xue’s wife’s daughter and was to call her “Mama”. Yu-fang was heart-broken at the fact that her only daughter was taken away from her. She then met General Xue’s number-two concubine who was very kind to her. Later on that day, she went with Bao Qin to visit General Xue. The wife then warned her not to bother General Xue often or at all. Yu-fang was terrified as a concubine because if General Xue died, she would have no rights and would be the wife’s “property”. She then tried to think of ways of escaping with Bao Qin.
One month later, Yu-fang had asked General Xue’s wife to allow her to go back to Yixian to get some clothes with Bao Qin. The wife said she could go alone since Bao Qin was a blood descendant; she could not be taken out of the mansion. When she returned, her sister ran out with Bao Qin in her arms and off they went. They were on their way back to Yixian with the number-two concubine’s help.
Once they got to Yixian safely and were sure that the Xue family was going to leave them alone, Yu-fang settled back into her house with her daughter. In 1933, a telegram informed her that General Xue had passed away. Approximately a week later, her parents got a letter from General Xue’s wife informing Yu-fang that she was given her freedom. She was once again free at twenty-four years old.

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