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Becoming Madame Mao Reaction Paper

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Becoming Madame Mao

Anchee Min: 337 pages

1. In the beginning of Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min, the story is told of a girl by the name of Yunhe. The first story from our heroine is when her mother is binding her feet. She refuses and later is applauded for it. Eventually her mother becomes quite poor and Yunhe runs away to join the opera house. She then is brought in by her grandfather who helps to "tune" her in her singing.

During her time as an actress, Yunhe changes her name to Lan Ping and becomes romantically involved with quite a few men. During her time in Shanghai, she joins the communist party. While she doesn't know much about communism at this point, this even triggers a major stepping stone on her way to fame.

Eventually Lan Ping meets the great Mao Zedong, who is currently the head of this rising communist party. Very soon she and Zedong become lovers; eventually they marry and have a child together. Later on, after China has finally become communist, it is found that Mao has been having affairs. Not wanting to lose the power she had, Lan Ping, now called Jiang Ching, becomes one of the most vocal of the politicians. To her dismay, her husband becomes ill. While the thought of him dying saddens her, the thought of losing support upsets her even more.

Upon the passing of Mao Zedong, a new Mao is chosen, much to Madame Mao (Jiang Ching)'s dislike. She is shown as a traitor to the Communist party and eventually is taken to prison. There she is forced into labor, and that is all that is told of the story of Madame Mao.

2. One particular incident in the book is when Lan Ping's lover, Yu Qiwei, is thought dead by the party. Eventually she moves on with life and even gets a new lover. After a few months it is found that Yu Qiwei is actually alive. Like the events that will take place later in the book, Lan Ping goes right after what she wants. Ping goes to Beijing to confront Yu Qiwei and ask him to take her back. At first it seems as though he does, but she is soon rejected as he sees another woman. Continuing after what she wants she keeps going after him. This shows her determination which is very prominent in this book. It can be said that she was a wonderfully courageous woman.

3. Becoming Madame Mao describes the goal of Lan Ping. Not only was it her goal, it was her life; the journey to become Madame Mao. Being so, the title is a three word summary of her life and what she became.


Politburo- executive and policymaking committee of the Communist Party

-"The man gasps and wills himself to push the syllables out of his mouth: Jiang Ching, the republic's enemy, the Politburo has ordered your arrest" (336).

Feudalistic- vassals held land from lords in exchange for military service

-"Her background could not be more pure: a child of feudalistic abuse, a young communist in Qing-daoƐ'..."(167).

Yin/Yang- Opposing forces within the universe that cannot be without the other

-"We have been raped by the nations who are strong in yang" (170).

-"You make us bite and chew on each other's flesh in order to exercise your ideal yang" (171).

Fatalistic- feeling or demonstrating resignation in the face of events regarded as controlled by fate

-"My character carries a fatalistic culture" (173).

Polliwogs- a tadpole

-"Behind his thick glasses, his eyes look like polliwogs" (223).

5. The central conflict of the novel is Lan Ping's rise to power. Having gone through



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