Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Summaries of the China Coin free essay sample

They ‘had to walk long distances every day, often on rough paths, carrying their bedrolls and other belongings on their backs. ’ Jung Chang’s mother’s feet were covered in blisters and she stumbled often in the slippery mud when it rained. They had to climb a steep mountain and she nearly toppled over the cliffs a number of times. She nearly drowned crossing a fast-flowing river. Her husband was allowed to travel in a jeep, with his bodyguards and he was not very sympathetic to his wife’s misery. Later she suffered a miscarriage as a result of this hardship and trauma. Language features are used to create a picture in the responder’s mind about the experiences of the marchers. Adjectives describe the journey in vivid detail: ‘The endless, magnificent, precipitous mountains were a stunning novelty after the flat plains around Jinzhou. ’ To Jung Chang’s mother the local peasants were ‘horribly dark, bony and tiny, with much sharper features and much bigger and rounder eyes than the people she was used to. ’ Similes are used to help the responder imagine the hardships Jung Chang’s mother endured. After trudging miles in heavy rain and hot temperatures her bedroll weighed on her ‘like a huge stone’. Later, sick and exhausted, she struggles on, ‘her legs like lead’. A record of a conversation with her husband is also used to highlight the fear and intimidation used by the communist regime. ‘I might as well leave’, she said. ‘You mustn’t! ’ my father said, anxiously. ‘That will be interpreted as meaning you are afraid of hardship. You will be regarded as a deserter and you will have no future. ’ Source 2 Internet Website: www. tsquare. tv/chronology/ 20th Century China: A Partial Chronology This source is divided into two parts. Part One: Pre-1989 gives a brief overview of China’s history from 1919 to 1988. It begins with the 1919 ‘May 4th Movement’ in which college students staged a series of demonstrations to protest the terms of the Versailles Treaty at the end of World War One which gave German territories in China to Japan. The timeline notes other important events such as Mao Zedong’s proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on 1st October 1949, the political persecutions during the ‘Cultural Revolution’ and the harsh economic reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s successor. It also notes the forced resignation of Hu Yaobang as Party General Secretary because of his ‘soft’ stance on student protests. Part Two: 1989 focuses on the events leading up to the massacre in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 beginning with the death of Hu Yaobang which sparks a gathering of people in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Hu and express their discontent with government repression and corruption. On 27th April students from more than 40 universities march to Tiananmen in protest of the editorial in the Communist Party’s newspaper People’s Daily which criticises the demonstrators. The timeline records the hunger strikes and break down in talks between the students and the government. This leads to the declaration of martial law on 20th May and eventually to the shooting of fire on students, other protesters and by-standers in and around Tiananmen Square on the night of 3rd June. The information contained in this source is presented in the form of a timeline in two parts. The focus is on the immediate events leading to the Tiananmen Square massacre. Only the most important events have been selected and are summarised briefly under the appropriate year. The structure of a timeline and the clear, bold headings, enable the responder to see at a glance the most important dates and events. The present tense is used for the purposes of a timeline. This creates a sense that we as the responders are ‘eye-witnesses’ in the making of history. Short sentences, which are also appropriate in a timeline, are used to give the facts in a succinct manner. Source 3 Documentary: The Gate of Heavenly Peace, 1995 This two and a half hour documentary explores the history of the demonstrations which culminated in the massacre on 4th June in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. It was the first film to tell the story of Tiananmen from a Chinese perspective. The documentary presents a range of perspectives and challenges the international media portrayal of idealistic, pro-Western students unified in a common cause. It shows that the reality was far more complex, involving both moderate and extremist student leaders who did not always agree on the goals, strategies or tactics of the demonstrations. It suggests that had the more moderate protesters prevailed over the extremists, the massacre might have been avoided. The filmmakers, Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon, interviewed people with a range of perspectives on the massacre, including that of Dai Qing, a journalist and writer. â€Å"I supported this demonstration because it was focused against one of the fundamental means by which the Communist Party maintains rule†¦to accuse people of fabricated political crimes. The students showed real conviction. † Hinton and Gordon spent six years with an international team researching and investigating the event. Other film techniques used to convey the students’ journey include the use of archival footage from Western and Chinese newsreels dating from the 1920s. It also uses footage from international news crews at the time of the event, as well as home videos shot by local Chinese and foreigners. Other techniques include the use of stills, posters, artwork and music which reflect trends in Chinese popular culture and official Chinese news reports. { Suggested answer to text prediction activity } The cover of The China Coin uses both visual and language techniques to give the responder clues about the content of the novel. The illustration by Jane Tanner depicts (shows) one main character in the foreground of the front cover, a girl with long, black hair and freckles. She could be half-Chinese. Her facial expression is reflective as if she is deep in thought. Another character, a Chinese boy with glasses, looks serious and perhaps troubled. He could belong to the group of students protesting against the corruption and lack of freedoms in his country. In the background we can see red flags and banners waving in a sea of black haired people who are probably the students who want to bring about change. This image is continued on the back cover. Here, the Chinese writing on the banners is clearer and the people closer. They are looking towards a monument and a statue, which looks similar to the Statue of Liberty in New York, a symbol of democracy. The blurb on the back cover uses language to create suspense. We can assume the girl on the cover is the main character, Leah. Words like ‘mystery’, ‘secret’ and ‘terror’ are used to persuade people to read the novel to find out what happens to Leah and the Chinese boy. The blurb refers to Tiananmen Square and we can infer from our background research that the historical and political context of the novel is the period leading up to and including the tragic massacre of peaceful demonstrators in Tiananmen Square,Beijing, in 1989. The blurb also refers to ‘a family she doesn’t know’. Leah looks Eurasian part English and part Chinese and we can assume that her search for the ancient coin in China will also give her a sense of belonging to and connection with a family which she did not previously know. Suggested answers to word bank activity } Word/term Meaning Mao Tse Tung Founder of the Chinese Communist Party and founder and chairman of the People’s Republic of China Communism A system of government in which all property belongs to the state and all economic activity is controlled by a single political party The Long March A march organised by Mao (1934-1935) to spread his ideas across China and gain support Cultural Revo lution Also known as ‘The Decade of Chaos’ (1966-76). This movement in China tried to force intellectuals to believe Mao’s philosophies or ideas. If they resisted they were imprisoned or killed. Tiananmen Square A large square in the ancient Forbidden City in Beijing in which thousands of students protested against government corruption and lack of democratic freedom in June 1989 Intellectuals People such as students and teachers who think about politics and society and, in China’s case, were against the communist party Protest A demonstration or show of anger and frustration at a government’s policies Hunger strike Where you stop eating for a period of time to show your support for a cause. It sometimes results in hospitalisation or even death. Martial Law When the army comes in to help a government impose its laws and control its people, sometimes using force Democracy A system of government in which the people in the country decide who they want to be in power { Suggested answers to composing sentences } This is a guide only. Ask your teacher to check your sentences. The Long March was a difficult and dangerous journey undertaken by thousands of Chinese men and women during 1934-1935 to spread Mao’s communist ideas across China. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), which is also known as the ‘Decade of Chaos’, thousands of intellectuals were killed or imprisoned for refusing to adopt Mao’s communist ideas. The death of the reformist party leader Hu Yaobang on 15th April 1989 sparked mass demonstrations or protests by students and other people wanting democracy in cities across China, including in the capital, Beijing. The government responded by sending declaring Martial Law and sending the army to control the demonstrators. The army was responsible for the massacre (mass killing of people) which occurred in Tiananmen Square on 4th June. { Answers to chapter one summary } Chapter One begins with teenage Leah on the plane with her mother Joan. They are about to land in China. An ancient half-coin was sent by Joan’s father before he died and the mystery surrounding it inspired Leah’s father to suggest they go to China in search of the other half. But he had died before they had the chance to do this together. Leah is going to China for him, to fulfill his wish, whereas Joan was going because the coin was ‘the key to a lost family’. It was important to Joan to go to find these people she never knew existed because ‘now they had become all the family she had’ (p. 11). Joan was Chinese. She was born in Penang, Malaysia, and moved to Sydney when she was a teenager. For her, it was important now to connect with her family and culture; to feel she belonged. Leah feels differently. On the plane she resents the air hostess’s comment about her â€Å"coming home† (p. 10). As far as she is concerned, she wasn’t even an ABC (an Australian Born Chinese) because her father, David Walters, had been English. Leah felt she didn’t belong in China; she identified too strongly with her Australian roots but she realises when Joan starts babbling away to the taxi driver outside the airport in Cantonese that ‘Joan was on her home ground. ’ (pp. 13-14) This sense of ‘belonging’ for Joan and of ‘not belonging’ for Leah puts pressure on an already strained mother-daughter relationship. { Answers to plot sequencing } No. Event 1 The half-coin and letter arrive for Joan from her dying father. 2 Leahs father dies of cancer. 3 The air hostess says, â€Å"Welcome home† to Leah. 4 Leah assures herself that she is not Chinese. Joan and Leah see a young man putting up pro-democracy posters in Guangzhou. 6 Joan and Leah learn more about their family and China’s history in Good Field Village. 7 The grey woman on the train to Shanghai gives Joan and Leah a history lesson. 8 Leah gets lost on the street of Shanghai. 9 Leah makes eye contact with a st udent in Chongqing who looked like her. 10 Joan and Leah meet Ke on the road to Red Star Village. 11 Heng crashes into Joan on his motorbike and she is taken to hospital. 12 Li-Nan welcomes Leah as part of their family. 13 Leah is beginning to change and wants to be a part of her Chinese family. 4 Ke and Leah talk about their fathers and about the student protests. 15 Leah wishes Joan could share her feeling with her. 16 Li-Nan and Leah discover the other half of the coin in an old metal trunk. 17 The Chinese government declares martial law in Beijing. 18 Ke kisses Leah (on the cheek). 19 Li- Nan tells Ke he can’t go to the protest in Chengdu. 20 Ke travels to Beijing to support the students in Tiananmen Square. 21 Leah and Joan fly to Beijing to continue their journey and to find Ke. 22 Ke gives Leah the two-halves of the coin blown into a glass egg. 23 Leah kisses Ke. 4 The army kills and injures hundreds of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. 25 Joan and Leah are prepared to be evacuated from China { Answers to true or false activity } ( F ) Leahs father was not interested in searching for the other half of the ancient coin. ( F ) At the beginning of the novel Leah is able to identify with her Chinese heritage. ( T ) Joan goes to China in the hope of finding the family she never knew existed. ( T ) Leah feels like she doesn’t belong in China because she is so tall. ( F ) Joan eats a lizard for dinner on their first night in China. F ) Joan and Leah find the oth er half of the coin in Good Field Village ( T ) Joans traumatic childhood memories of the mob in Penang cause her to react strongly to Leahs disappearance in Shanghai. ( T ) Leah was angry because Joan seemed to get over her husbands death so fast. ( T ) During the Cultural Revolution Kes father was killed for his poetry about freedom. ( F ) Ke gives in to peer group pressure and goes with his friends to the protest in Chengdu after Li-Nan said he couldn’t go. ( T ) Hu Yaobang was a Communist Party leader who wanted more freedom for the people. T ) While climbing the Great Wall of China Leah is finally able to think of her father almost without pain. ( F ) The sharp noises Leah heard at night in Beijing were firecrackers. ( F ) The Chinese government television news reported the facts about Tiananmen Square. ( T ) Leah and Joan were prepared to be evacuated from China by the Australian Embassy after they heard that Ke was missing, presumed dead. { Suggested answers to matching characters with quotes } Character Quote Relevance to Belonging David Waters But we inherit a mystery, a challenge. We must go. All of us. To find the secret of the coin. † (p. 12) David Waters wanted his family to travel together to find the coin’s secret. It was a challenge which would not only draw them closer as a family of three, but also help them form new relationships with their extended family in China. The coin connected them (gave them a sense of belonging) to people and places they had never met or experienced before. Air hostess Welcome home. (p. 12) Earlier the air hostess had said â€Å"you’re coming home† to Leah although Leah immediately tried to correct her by telling the air hostess that she had never been in China before. She is concerned that the air hostess has seen her as Chinese, despite her freckles and slightly European features. Leah is not ready to accept her Chinese heritage and so refuses to identify with it; she chooses not to belong. In contrast, the air hostess sees only the ‘Chinese’ Leah and so welcomes her home, as if she is predicting that Leah will find she does belong in China. Young man in Guangzhou â€Å"We are enemies of the State. † (p. 22) On their first night in Guangzhou Leah and Joan see a young man putting up political posters. He identifies himself as belonging to a group of people who the government says are enemies. The students’ struggle to help bring about political reform is a parallel plot in the novel. Attitudes to belonging change over time and the students challenge both the government and its people to consider the type of society they want to belong to. Is it the existing system which limits freedom or a system which embraces democracy? Grandfather â€Å"In Australia you are Australian, but in China you are Chinese. † (p. 41) Grandfather is commenting on Leah’s Chinese name, which means â€Å"Pear† (a fruit). Leah is slowly warming to the idea of identifying herself as partly Chinese. She feels she is beginning to belong and instead of being offended, as she was with the air hostess on the plane, she makes a joke and pretends to walk like a pear. Leah â€Å"I didn’t ask to come! It’s your rotten China. † (p. 65) ‘Yes. We’re family. † (p. 55) â€Å"I want to be a part of it. † (p. 145) The italics used by Allan Baillie in the word ‘your’ emphasise or stress how Leah feels alienated and distant from China. She feels that unlike her mother, she does not belong. The second quote reveals how much Leah changed as a result of her meeting part of her extended family in Good Field Village. She is beginning to identify with her Chinese family and experiences a sense of belonging to them. In the third quote Leah is telling Ke that she supports the students’ cause for democracy and wants to help support them in their struggle to challenge existing political ideas. In a way she identifies with them and feels a sense of belonging and connection. Grey woman in train Scum†¦ The students are counter-revolutionary thugs. (p. 55) The woman on the train to Shanghai belongs to the Communist Party and she therefore shows no understanding of the students’ cause. Her anti-student perspective is seen in her negative words and angry tone. Woman in Shanghai Ah, students want to change China. Some people are afraid they might. (p. 61) The woman helped Leah to her feet after she had been knocked over by a student who, together with a group of other students, was being chased by soldiers. She explains to Leah that she had been pushed because it was not her â€Å"affair†; they thought she could not identify with their cause. While most government officials and many others in China were afraid and not willing to embrace the political changes the students demanded, there were many who secretly hoped the students could bring about change China. This woman gives the impression she wants change too and does not identify with the government, although fear of the authorities prevents her from supporting the students directly. Joan â€Å"People will think you’re one of them. † (p. 68) Joan is referring to the students when she slaps Leah’s hand down after she made the â€Å"V† for victory sign. Leah’s sense of connectedness or belonging to the students’ hopes for China is growing and that is why she returned the sign to the boy who saluted her. Joan, on the other hand, does not identify with the students. This is why she refers to them as â€Å"them†. Li Nan â€Å"You are in this house. You are part of our family now. Welcome. † (p. 105) Li-Nan was not sure Leah and Joan were her family at this stage but she accepts them as if they are. In her opinion they belong to the Zhu family and so she welcomes them. Tong I am sure you have found the right family. (p. 130) Tong shows acceptance of Leah and Joan’s arrival in Red Star Village. They belong to his family and he believes that even if they do not find the other half of the coin, they have found what is more important – family. Heng â€Å"Some party cadres demand payment for permission to build a factory†¦ So I am expected to be corrupt. † (p. 132) Heng is trying to deny that he is corrupt, like the other party cadres or officials. He even pretends to support the students’ cause, â€Å"Support our brave students for a better China! † However, he belongs to the group who are part of the problem and Leah later catches him stealing fertiliser for himself, instead of sharing it with the other villagers. Tall youth â€Å"It is today that we need you. † (p. 146) Ke tries to explain to the youth that he can’t protest in Chengdu that day as he had planned. The youth does not understand. He appeals to Ke’s sense of belonging to the group of students, â€Å"we need you†, and accuses him of marching only when it is not dangerous. Ke â€Å"No, I can’t call myself part of the marchers any more. It’s not â€Å"us† that is winning. It’s â€Å"them†. I’ve dropped out. † (p. 152) Ke is very upset when his mother tells him he can’t go and protest in Chengdu. Leah tries to encourage him but he no longer feels he belongs to the students. Leah tells him he is still a part of it but he feels he has betrayed his friends and the other marchers. The choice to not belong was made by Li-Nan, his mother, not himself. Her fear (due to her past experiences) was a barrier to his sense of belonging to his group of friends and the students’ cause. Embassy official â€Å"We’re getting you out. † (p. 183) The embassy official rings Leah and Joan in their hotel room after the massacre and tells them they will be taken out of China and away from danger. As foreign nationals they can expect their embassy to evacuate them in times of danger. Their nationality is a barrier to them belonging, even if they do identify with the students’ cause. Foreign student â€Å"I don’t want to go home. I want to stay and help them fight. † (p. 186) ThThe The foreign student is frustrated because although he identifies with the students, his choice to stay has been taken away because he is not Chinese. He wanted to stay and help the students challenge the communist party’s power but his nationality is an obstacle or barrier to him belonging. { Suggested answers to thinking about how the text relates to the Area of Study: Belonging } Ideas about belonging or not belonging vary (change) and are shaped (molded, challenged by, changed) within personal, cultural, historical, and social contexts. Leah’s feelings about her identity have been challenged by her experiences in China through various contexts. The personal context involves her relationships with others, in particular her mother, Joan. When they arrived in China, Leah was angry with her mother. But on the train to Chengdu Leah feels things are changing. It was funny she thought how things changed every time they moved. ‘In Guangzhou Joan was a stranger, on the first train she was an ally, in Shanghai an enemy, in Wuhan a little girl with a nightmare, in Chongquin a mother. And in Chengdu, somehow, they had become sisters again. ’ (p. 88) Slowly, Leah begins to see her mother’s pain at losing her husband and she realises that her being in China was not just about fulfilling her father’s dying wish, but also about drawing closer to her mother. As Joan says, â€Å"Yes, Leah, I wanted China to be our paddy. † (p. 139) The cultural context also challenges Leah. At the beginning of the novel Leah feels she does not belong in China. She is shocked at the treatment of animals in the market in Guangzhou, at Joan eating snake for dinner and at the dirty river. Unlike Joan ‘babbling away’ (p. 13) she struggles with the language which is also a barrier to her feeling like she belongs in China. Not surprisingly she tries to convince herself, â€Å"You’re not Chinese. You don’t even look like them. † (p. 23) However, Leah’s sense of her own identity slowly changes and she begins to identify with her Chinese heritage in a way she never would have imagined possible. In Chongqing Leah sees a girl in a protest march beating a drum. ‘She looks like me, Leah thought in surprise. The same size as me, the same smile as me†¦ I could be her. ’ (p. 7) Leah’s friendships and connections with her extended Chinese family alter (change) her initial negative feelings and she starts to feel she belongs. When she and Joan leave Good Field Village, Leah gets a bit teary and admits to Joan, â€Å"Yes. We’re family. † (p. 55) By the end of the novel she identifies strongly with her Chi nese family. In Red Star Village she ‘felt that she was being pulled home’ and ‘really wanted to be part of the family’ (p. 105). The historical and social contexts, explored in the parallel plot of the student’s struggle for democratic reform, also shape Leah’s sense of belonging or not belonging. In 1989 many students, and others, believed the time was right to stand up to the communist government and call for more democratic rights and freedoms for all. The death of the reformist party leader Hu Yaobang on 15th April 1989 was the trigger for mass demonstrations across China. To show they were still in control and not prepared to make these changes, the government used the army to stop the protests in Beijing. There were also demonstrations in Shanghai and these are referred to in The China Coin. In the novel they annoy Joan who calls them â€Å"Damn students†. Leah thinks differently and ‘felt she was marching†¦ with the students’ (p. 66). One of them ‘grinned and saluted her with a victory sign’ (p. 67). Later, she tells Ke, â€Å"I want to be part of it† but he doesn’t believe she fully belongs. â€Å"Not your battle†, he tells her (p. 145). Later, in Tiananmen Square, he changes his mind and says, â€Å"after marching for us in Turtle Land, you Zhu Leah, are part of this. † (p. 171) A sense of belonging can emerge (come out of) from the connections made with people, places, groups, communities and the larger world. As Leah connects with and experiences people, places, groups and communities in China her sense of ‘not belonging’ changes to ‘belonging’. In Good Field Village she begins to find things she likes about China. She compares the chickens running free through the house in Good Field village to the ones cruelly cooped up in cages in Guangzhou and the pet cat to the ones waiting in fear to be someone’s meal. She realises that what she saw in Guangzhou wasn’t all there was to China. She also becomes more positive about the food. When the expanded family sat down for a meal that evening Leah comments on the food, â€Å"It is lovely. Great,† (p. 36) she said. The next day Leah began thinking about Joan’s family as her family. â€Å"Joan’s grandfather was her great grandfather, Joan’s father was her grandfather and Swallow’s Grandfather was her great uncle – if she wanted it that way. † (p. 42) Leah realises she had a choice about whether or not to belong to her extended family. She was reluctant to accept them at first as this challenged her sense of identity as being â€Å"not Chinese† but their hospitality and friendship draws her gradually towards an acceptance of her Chinese heritage. Even her visit to the village cemetery, so different to her memories of the ‘quiet grave’ in which her father was buried, plays a role. Here, there was no pain and for Leah it was if ‘those curved earth arms were reaching out to her, welcoming her into the family. ’ (p. 42) Leah chooses to belong as a result of the connections made with her extended family in Good Field Village. â€Å"We’re family† she says to Joan (p. 55). In Turtle Land Village her friendship with Ke helps her identify more with her Chinese identity. He tells Leah a story about the origins of the village and says, â€Å"That’s yours – that’s our ancestral village, Leah. (p. 112) He makes her feel she belongs, even though at that stage they do not know if they actually are related. Being in China has connected Leah to the larger world. Leah admits to Ke that she does not know much about the politics of Australia, let alone China. He explains that it is â €Å"Because they don’t affect you. Here they affect all of us. † (p. 109) Her travels through China have broadened her understanding of Chinese politics and her friendship with Ke gives it a personal dimension; she can identify with him, and feels a sense of belonging to the students because she realises she could be one of them. Even Ke believes she now belongs. He tells her in Tiananmen Square, â€Å"after marching for us in Turtle Land, you Zhu Leah, are part of this. † (p. 171) Together they feel that have been a part of something great, something that mattered, even if the government didn’t listen. Belonging can be considered in terms of experiences, and ideas about identity, relationships, acceptance and understanding. Leah’s experiences in China, including her travels from Guangzhou to Beijing, help mould her sense of belonging to China. In Red Star Village Leah hears that the government stopped the trains to stop the students and others getting to Beijing. She had been to these places: ‘Wuhan, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, they were all part of her China. Almost as much as Ke’s China. ’ (p. 155). Her identity also changes with her changing sense of belonging. Before coming to China Leah did not identify with its culture or people in any way. In fact, she tried to ignore her Chinese heritage and focused on her European features, like her freckles inherited from her English father and her â€Å"sniffy† nose. She tries to convince herself, â€Å"You’re not Chinese. You don’t even look like them. † (p. 23) However, her relationships with others in China, in particular with Jade, Swallow and Grandfather in Good Field Village and Li-Nan, Uncle Tong and her cousin Ke in Red Star Village, lead to a greater acceptance and understanding of herself and her cultural identity and by the end of her time in China she realises while she is not Chinese, she is ‘not not Chinese either. It doesn’t matter anymore. ’ (p. 158) Being partly Chinese is now embedded in her own sense of belonging and identity. Leah’s relationship with her mother improves as a result of their experiences together in China and their sense of belonging together as a family is strengthened. Initially Leah was angry with Joan because she thought she wanted to forget about her husband and she was frustrated by Joan’s fear of ‘the mob’. However, as she learns more about her mother’s childhood and reflects on Joan’s pain at losing her husband she is able to let go of her anger and reach out to her mother in love, acceptance and understanding. On her way to visit Joan in hospital in Red Star Village she reminds herself, ‘try to think how she has been feeling! ’ (p. 137) By the end of the novel they support each other in their grief and ‘clung together in the back of the crowded truck’ (p. 190) as they are being evacuated from China. By belonging, or not belonging, a person can enrich or challenge a community or group. Ke has very strong political opinions and he feels connected to the students across China who are calling for an end to the corruption or â€Å"guanxi† and greater freedoms for all Chinese. He delays his journey to join their protests in Chengdu by a day so he can show Leah around the village but the next day he tells his mother, Li-Nan, â€Å"I’ve got to go, got to go. † (p. 120) Like the other students, he believes that they can challenge the communist party officials and put pressure on them to move towards a more democratic society. When Leah meets him in Beijing he tells her, â€Å"We have shown the politburo what the people want. They will have to make the changes†¦ The world is watching us – and them. They have no way to go but our way. † (p. 71) While some members of the government were prepared to make some changes, their voices were silenced by the majority who did not want their positions of power threatened. By belonging to the student movement Ke enriched their cause and helped challenge the communist government which acted as a barrier, preventing its citizens from participating and belonging in their own society because th ey were excluded from the political decision-making processes. People may choose to belong or not belong or there may be barriers (obstacles, problems) which prevent (stop) them belonging. The students in China chose not to belong to the thousands of other Chinese who accepted the government’s authority. This authority represented barriers to their belonging to a free, democratic society. In the novel, Ke chooses to be one of the students fighting for democratic change in China. He attends protest marches in the nearest city, Chengdu, with his fellow students. When he hears that the government had refused to listen to the protesters and declared martial law in Beijing he is angry and upset and wants to go to Beijing to encourage the students in Tiananmen Square. But Li-Nan refuses to let him go, fearing for his life as her husband, Ke’s father, had been killed for refusing to belong to a political system which repressed its people. Ke’s fellow students do not understand why he cannot go and think he has betrayed them and the democratic cause. They think he is afraid of the danger. Ke is so upset and cries. He feels he no longer belongs to this group or to the cause that he believes in so strongly but he chooses not to belong at that point because of his promise to his mother. (146) Later Leah tells him the boy should not have been so mean but Ke said, â€Å"He was right. I should not be here. † Ke feels now that at this moment he does not belong – he needs to be with the other students. Leah encourages him â€Å"But you’re winning† But Ke says â€Å"No, I can’t call myself part of the marchers any more. It’s not â€Å"us† that is winning. It’s â€Å"them†. I’ve dropped out. † Leah tries to tell him, â€Å"You are part of it, Ke! ’ but he says, â€Å"I’m not! † and tips manure on his trousers, saying â€Å"That’s what I am. † (pp. 151-152) To Ke, his mother refusing to let him go to Beijing is an obstacle, a barrier to him belonging. But as Leah realises, even in his ‘not belonging’ he is still a part of a powerful movement that did challenge the government, even though it failed. Back { Suggested answers to analysing textual features } Feature Example of use page reference Effectiveness of this feature/ relevance to Belonging metaphor ‘I am a giant, she thought. ’ (p. 16) Metaphors are used to help paint a picture in the reader’s mind. When they first arrive in China Leah is very conscious of her height. She notices people staring up at her and thinks she is a giant (extremely tall person) in comparison to them. She begins to want to ‘pass as one of them’ (p. 16) so they wouldn’t stare at her. She knows she looks different, but already it is becoming important for her to blend in, to at least look like she ‘belongs’. adjectives ‘Leah†¦ frowned at the mirror and the girl with the long black hair, the brown eyes, the sniffy nose and the freckles frowned back at her â€Å"You’re not Chinese. You don’t even look like them. †Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (p. 23) Adjectives are used throughout the novel to help the reader imagine characters and settings. In this example adjectives describe Leah’s physical features. Her freckles help give her a partly European appearance and at this stage in the novel she identifies more strongly with this part of her cultural identity. Inner monologue ‘How long have you been here? †¦ six weeks from the neurotic kid that feared her mother was going to throw some sort of spell to make her Chinese. No, youre not Chinese, but youre not not Chinese either. It doesnt matter anymore. ’ (p. 158) Allan Baillie has used the third person narrative voice to tell his story but from time to time chooses to reveal Leah’s thoughts using inner monologue and the second person narrative voice. This way, the reader feels as if they are listening to Leah’s private thoughts and we are drawn into the text immediately. We feel close to Leah as she pours out her feelings. This quote reflects her feelings about her growing acceptance of her Chinese heritage in Red Star Village. When she arrived in China she felt she did not belong and identifies strongly with her European and Australian links. She was ‘not Chinese’. But her experiences and contacts with friends and family in China have changed her and she realises that it no longer matters. Flashback ‘In hospital, out of hospital. Shrinking. But always trying to laugh†¦Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (p. 81) Sometimes a writer will choose to make their story more interesting by varying the order of the narrative structure and using flashbacks. Allan Baillie has used this technique effectively in The China Coin. On the riverboat Leah remembers the time after ‘The Cough’ when her dad got cancer. Belonging can be considered in terms of relationships and the use of the flashback technique allows us as the reader to learn more about Leah’s father and her close relationship with him. She drew closer to him in his illness but became more distant from her mother, especially after his death. We realise that our past experiences influence and shape our understanding of belonging or not belonging. symbolism â€Å"Yes, Leah, I wanted China to be our paddy. † (p. 139) A symbol represents something else. In this example the paddy is a symbol for healing and bonding. Ke told Leah that after his father was taken by the Red Guards he and Li-Nan began to dig their own paddy (a field, in which rice is usually grown). They continued, even after hearing of his death. It looked strange to outsiders but it helped them to heal and become â€Å"mates†. It was the relationship which became important, not the paddy itself. For Leah and Joan their time in China is not just about searching for the coin (another symbol) but about coming to terms with the death of a loved one and drawing closer to each other for support, belonging together as mother and daughter and as two women with shared experiences, rather than as strangers. Back Suggested answer to writing about textual features } Allan Baillie has used a range of textual features in his novel, The China Coin,to help the reader imagine the characters, settings and events. Through these features ideas about belonging are conveyed. For example, metaphors are used to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. When they first arrive in China Leah is very conscious of her height. ‘I am a giant, she thought. ’ She knows she looks differe nt, but already it is becoming important for her to blend in, to at least look like she ‘belongs’. Inner monologue makes the reader feel as if they are listening to Leah’s private thoughts and we feel close to Leah as she pours out her feelings. â€Å"No, youre not Chinese, but youre not not Chinese either. It doesnt matter anymore. †Ã‚   When she arrived in China she felt she did not belong and identifies strongly with her European and Australian links. She was ‘not Chinese’. But her experiences and contacts with friends and family in China have changed her and she realises that it no longer matters. Ideas about belonging can be seen in relationships and through the use of symbols. For example, the paddy is a symbol for healing and bonding. Ke and Li-Nan became â€Å"mates† as they dug a paddy following Ke’s father’s imprisonment and death. Similarly, Joan and Leah draw closer to each other following the death of their husband and father as a result of their experiences in China. Joan says, â€Å"Yes Leah, I wanted China to be our paddy. † They are no longer strangers but two women who now have a mature mother-daughter relationship which reflects their sense of belonging to each other.

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