Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Cornelia Spencer’s Sun Yat-sen: Founder of the Chinese Republic is a biography and a history text. Spencer’s beautifully narrated account discusses the stirring life of Sun Yat-sen from his birth in November, 1866, to his death in March, 1925, within the context of the major political events during this period. The book develops chronologically in four parts and sixteen chapters; each part or chapter focuses on a different subject, as reflected in subtitles.

The first part traces the shaping of Sun Yat-sen’s revolutionary ideas from his childhood experience, his contact with the Western world, and his education in Christian mission schools in Hawaii and Hong Kong. When Sun Yat-sen was six, his brother Sun Mei went to Hawaii. He later took Sun Yat-sen to Honolulu with the intention of making him his partner and a successful businessperson like himself. Sun Yat-sen was more impressed, however, by the spirit of freedom, the advanced technology, and the Christian ideals that he found in this different world, rather than by the wealth that a businessperson could acquire there.

Disturbed by Sun Yat-sen’s belief in Christianity, Sun Mei sent him back to their hometown, Choyhung. There, Sun Yat-sen not only made his ideas known but also took to smashing traditional Chinese religious images. As a result, Sun Yat-sen was banished from his hometown. After studying medicine for five years, he opened his own hospital in Macao.


(The entire section is 585 words.)