In studying the expectations and realities of marriage in these texts, we see how powerful the nature of this relationship can be. The two fiction works, “The Marriage of Young Blacky” and The White-Haired Girl, present idealized versions of how marriage should play into revolution. The pieces discourage traditional marriage practices based on superstition, financial concerns, and coercion. However, this encouragement for individuals to choose their own partners was not simply to promote love between two people but was used to undermine existing power dynamics. Liberated from arranged marriages, people could either marry who they wanted in a form of rebellion against tradition, as in “The Marriage of Young Blacky,” or use this freedom to devote more of oneself to the revolution. The latter is closer to the realities of marriage under Mao. Spider Eaters and other true stories recount how threatened by romance and people’s potential devotion to each other, the CCP stigmatized feelings and expressions of love. Paired with the defeminization of women during the Cultural Revolution, marriage was no longer a relationship between man and woman but strictly a duty between two comrades. Through these examples, we see how one’s relationship with the nation can be tied to relationships on the smallest level.
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