A Daughter of Han Questions and Answers
by Ida Pruitt

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What kind of sexist themes can be seen in the book A Daughter of Han by Ida Pruitt?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In A Daughter of Han Ida Pruitt presents life for women in Imperial China as harsh and repressive. This is a male-dominated society in which men make the rules and their womenfolk are expected to obey them without question. The cruel practice of binding women's feet together acts almost as a metaphor for the restrictions placed on women in traditional Chinese society. Women are bound not just to their husbands and fathers, but also to the villages in which they are born.

Outside the confines of the village, women like Mistress Ning have no support network, and so have little choice but to remain where they are, serving the needs of their husbands and fathers as well as patriarchal rural society as a whole. This severely restricts, as it is meant to, their freedom to forge meaningful lives for themselves. The very title of the book—A Daughter of Han —indicates that women in this society are defined almost completely by their relationship to the men in their lives. Mistress Ning is not...

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