Son of the Revolution

by Liang Heng, Judith Shapiro

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The most obvious and main, overarching theme of Son of the Revolution is the Cultural Revolution in China. Liang Heng's story tells readers how this revolution completely changed, not just China itself, but all of the individuals and families inside it. His family is destroyed during this rise of communism, and it is the focal point of the memoir. The themes of politics and culture are both contained under this umbrella theme as well, and the story explores them both as the reader follows Liang through a tough life during one of the toughest times in China's history.

Another theme in the book is family. The title itself suggests this theme: Heng is the "son" of this Cultural Revolution. It made him who he was. The book looks at his relationship with his actual, initially close-knit, family as well, and describes the pain and the loss he felt when his mother was sent away, and when he and the rest of the family were made to become poor farmers in the country.

One last theme of this work could be resilience, or perhaps survival. In spite of all of these odds, Heng was able to survive the Cultural Revolution. He eventually escaped its hold, married a woman he loved, and made a better life for himself in a different country.

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