“Spider Eaters”, a memoir composed by Rae Yang, presented the English readers her individual remembrances about the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution (GPCR). This was a social-political movement that took place in the People’s Republic of China from 1966 through 1976. Set into motion by Mao Zedong. The first edition, which was printed in 1997, started with a quotation of Lu Xun and Author’s Note. The quotation delivers an accurate reference for the memoir’s name According to Lu Xun, “spider eaters” surrendered themselves by eating the poisonous insect, to guarantee that their offspring will not construct the same error.
By implication, Yang recognizes herself as the victim and supporter of the GPCR. Yang stated her accountability in the last paragraph of this book, which is to brand the example she absorbed known and recalled by people. In the author’s note, Yang asserts that in this biography, her instantaneous emotion throughout the occasion and her afterward understanding have been noted and distinguished by using italicized font. Why is it significant for the author to consider the temporality of her recollection? Why does she want to notify the readers about her internal world?
Does Yang accomplish her wish of educating a historic example to the younger generation by distributing her own remembrance? By rising questions on the landscape of singular memory and its relationship to history writing, I challenge to investigate how “Spider Eaters” provide to our understanding about the GPCR. I will examine on the author’s unique remembering the GPCR through contextualizing her direct feelings. Through admitting her instant reply, Yang re-emerges her subjectivity in the previous condition instead of making space from it.
To some grade, a single memory fights being imposed with conclusive meaning and itself has the agency of generating another historical narrative to improve our understanding of history. In the Newer edition, Yang added a long preface to her memoir, clarifying the motivation of recalling and writing her knowledge in the GPCR. Yang started to write in the early 1980s, while she lived in the United States . She was concerned that through lone reading the history schoolbook, the younger generation would undervalue the difficulty of the movement, which makes it problematic for them to
comprehend the original purpose of the member throughout the GPCR. Through this memoir, Yang tries to display the human edge of the demonized GPCR participants, other than pure brutality and absurdity. Unlike several additional memoirs of the GPCR, Yang does not limit her understanding at the level of self-victimization. Tom Tymozcko, exchanged his idea with Yang about the GPCR and the Baby Boomer in U. S. A. Yang admitted that she was moved by the American boomers, who she reasons as the equivalent of her generation in China.
By linking herself with the American complement, Yang understood that the entire humans aspiration in following social ideal could lead to tragic negative effect, no matter what political power is in the play. The italicized portions in this book earn special consideration since they are designed to show her thought and emotion when the actions were occurring. In Chapters 15 and 20, Yang’s feelings have been documented most intensively. In next parts of this essay, I will examine the changes in Yangs opinion of identity, Class, Revolution and Politics in distinctive contexts.
1966 spots the start of the bulk student movement started by the GPCR. University and middle school scholars were the main to reply to the Maoist call of rebellion against authority. The variety of combination reasons was extremely difficult and fractionalized. The beginning of the fractionalized student group was imbedded in the development of bureaucratic privilege and the rising social inequality. The political separation inside the Red Guards developed from a selection of issues, such as family backdrop, economic position, and different understandings of Maoism.
The students in their struggle against different factions emulated Mao’s critique against the Party apparatus. In Yang’s memoir, she verifies this spectacle and suggests her viewpoint as a 16-year-old Red Guard. If Yang shapes her actual emotion during the time, it could be recognized that these youthful rebellious middle school students were conscious of the difference between the ideological information and social realism. Yang’s disbelief in the Party forces was varied by her own blame, particularly her family background.
In another paragraph she remembered the psychological burden that she had when she had to secretly travel her parents valuable properties that may cause problem. Yang’s dilemma throughout that period was whether to be faithful to her family, or to her idol Mao. It was especially problematic to answer when she was sixteen year sold. But Yang chose to be a hypocrite other than a fool, by not deceiving her family. As the outcome she grieved from the consequence of dishonesty to Mao and survived beneath a sense of guilt. One way to recovery was throughout visualizing herself as the revolutionary sacrifice.
This crazy resourcefulness of heroic sacrifice seems frequent during her involvement as the Red Guard. In late 1967 Mao ordered the termination of the GPCR, and the People Liberation Army (PLA) was told to reestablish order. In October the Red Guards were told to restart their studying. Several student protesters were transmitted to the countryside to be reeducated by the low income and lower middle peasants. Several were killed by the PLA throughout armed control. According to Mao in 1970s the total authority of the Party had to be reestablished. He was careful of the increasing power of military leader.