Based on the story "Sketches from the 'Cattle Shed'" by Ding Ling, how would you suggest I write a document (from Ding Ling's perspective) to submit to the government which criticizes the Cultural...

Based on the story "Sketches from the 'Cattle Shed'" by Ding Ling, how would you suggest I write a document (from Ding Ling's perspective) to submit to the government which criticizes the Cultural Revolution. Suppose you are a member of a group which is a "committee to criticize the Cultural Revolution" in China.

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kjtracy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When writing this thought exercise, there are many implied and explicit critiques of the Cultural Revolution within the story you could use to create your arguments. Consider discussing such products of the Revolution as the inhumanity of internment, economic damage, social isolation and alienation, and censure.

Ding Ling's Internment and Censure

As a Chinese woman who defied the expectations and limitations of her culture, Ding Ling had a unique perspective on the effects of the Cultural Revolution. She experienced the pitfalls of communism on a personal level throughout her internment. Ding Ling was married to a man who was arrested for his leftist political ideals, and she was later censured for the political sentiments in her works. She was expelled from her own party in 1957 for advocating for women's rights and she was imprisoned for a five-year period during the Cultural Revolution. In "Sketches from the 'Cattle Shed,'" Ding Ling discusses her feelings of deep isolation and the horrors of her own internment. She was kept in solitary confinement, an experience that gave her a unique understanding of the Marxist concept of alienation. If she were to write an essay to the government criticizing the Cultural Revolution, the practical and emotional devastation of internment would likely be discussed in light of her own experiences.

Women's Rights

Each of these experiences can be found in the subject matter of "Sketches from the 'Cattle Shed,'" so it is highly likely that a letter from Ding Ling would cover each of them to some degree. She was also well-known for her passionate advocacy for women's rights, so you could also focus a portion of the document on the ways in which the Cultural Revolution leads to the oppression of women. The concept of filial piety was central to the Cultural Revolution, and one of the three foundational concepts within the philosophy of filial piety is that women are required to obey the men in their family. This view shaped the expectations the Cultural Revolution imposed on Chinese women like Ding Ling, so your essay could also discuss the various ways in which this ideology limited their careers and other personal choices and freedoms.