Confucian Family dynamics. In this course so far we have discussed the way that Confucianism operates within the family. In this assignment I want you to look at the way a Chinese family is depicted in a movie.
SECTION A: How is the traditional Confucian family organized?
Examine carefully the way the family in one of the following three movies interact with one another: 1) Eat, Drink, Man, Woman 2) The Shower 3) Red Sorghum.
Describe the main dynamics within the family you have selected. You may use the following questions to help you do this: Who has the authority in the family? How does this character show that he or she is the authority? Is this authority challenged directly or indirectly by other family members? What are the fears of the main characters? How do these fears affect the way that the characters interact with one another? What are the goals of the family as a whole? What are the goals of the individual characters? Are they the same as the goals of the authority figure? Are they the same as the goals of the family as a whole? Are there any members of the family missing? How does this affect our reading of the movie family?
How do your answers to section A relate to what we have learned about traditional and modern Chinese families in class? In particular, how do the family relationships in the movie compare and contrast with the model of Confucian relationships described in class in the powerpoints.
What might account for the differences between the ideal model and the fictional family you are discussing? How does the movie complicate our understanding of what the “typical” Chinese family looks like?
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