Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Women, Life, Men, Wealth, Society, Lifestyle, Prostitution, Youth

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/14

Cao Yu’s play Sunrise provides insight into the complex experiences of Chinese women in the twentieth century. The play focuses on the struggles that were experienced and are still being experienced by women even as they struggle to fit in a rather male dominated society. The efforts of women to gain recognition and worth in the society make them attempt different lifestyle, which turns out to be tragic to them. The play’s main character is Chen Bailu who has been raised in a humble background but makes a choice to enter into the world of materialism. Her decision makes her to separate from her childhood boyfriend Fang Dasheng and begin a new life of luxury and pleasure with her banker boyfriend. All is well for Chen, until the worst happens and her boyfriend becomes bankrupt. With no other survival means, Chen is frustrated, due to her unwillingness to return into a life of poverty. The play ends, when Chen commits suicide after her encounter with a prostitute Xiaodongxi. Xiaodongxi is a teenage girl, who ended up in prostitution and when she could not handle the pressure, she too committed suicide.
Chen suddenly realizes that she has a beauty that any man could die for. However, she does not value her beauty enough to preserve it, but instead considered it as an opportunity to change his social and economic standing in the society. The story of Chen is an example of materialistic women who are not willing to work hard to obtain what they want but instead look for easy means through which to gain wealth. Such women use their feminism to exploit men by making them pay for their expensive lifestyles. Chen manages to be connected to a wealthy man and dumps her childhood boyfriend. She understands that a change in status also means a change in social relationships (He 60). Te main reason for her dumping the boyfriend because he was not as rich as the banker and was still inclined to the traditional believes. The world of materialism catches up with Chen, who now lives in luxurious hotels.
In the same context we are encountered yet again with another female character Xiaodongxi. She is just s teenager, yet the life of materialism has caught up with her. Almost similar to Chen, she gets into prostitution. Xiaodongxi may have been faced with numerous challenges of life that require her to do something that will sustain her living. She considered her body to be the perfect asset that will ensure she obtains the needed resources without much struggle. The decision to enter into prostitution was also spurred by the need for material wealth and a luxurious lifestyle. Xiaodongxi, just like Chen, is attracted to richer men, whom she is sure will guarantee her the lifestyle and resources she requires (Fei 39). In search of better opportunities, Xiaodongxi moves into the hotel that Chen lives in, and together, they try to establish a relationship.
Chen and Xiaodongxi are a representation of the Chinese women in the 20th century as they sought to find a life that will define their identity. Materialism was associated with a different social class, a craving that most women had. The women were just rising from a society where they depended on men to provide for their every need. The modern world required that they will not just have men in their lives, but men who had the ability to guarantee them the lifestyle they needed. The challenge was up to the men to ensure that they were capable of providing what the women needed. Women were willing to go to an extra extend just to afford a luxurious life, using their feminine features as an asset. The 20th century hence saw a number of women going into prostitution with the hope of getting more money to sustain them. There were different kinds of prostitutions, as observed in the play. One was in the nature of giving oneself to a specific man, who would provide for all the material needs in exchange for sex, as displayed by Chen. The second for was where the woman moved from one man to another and offer their bodies for sex for cash return.
It is unfortunate that most of the victims of this kind of lifestyles were young girls. They had been born in a society that required them to be independent, yet they did not have the resources to manage the change. They were not willing to take the long route of hard work, which would ensure they reap from their sweat. Instead, they looked at their beauty and features and thought it would be a perfect and fastest means through which hey will get richer quickly. With women who were willing to sell their bodies for a better lifestyle, the society was also flooded with men who were ready to prey on the naivety of the young girls. They considered their hopeless nature and situation and gave them a treatment they did not deserve. Women were slowly loosing their identity in the name of gaining it (Cao 44). The pleasures of luxury could not be sustained as it was established on temporal and selfish motives. There was nobody to advise the young women on the right path, and if there was, the women were too engrossed in their lifestyles to listen.
The story tells of a sad situation that was not just common among the women in the 20th century but also synonymous with the modern society. Femininity has greatly been abused and looked at as an object of gratifying selfish interests rather than a symbol of productivity. Apart from the widespread life of prostitution that young girls are engaged in, there is the general portrayal of the female body in a way that contradicts moral decency. There are numerous brothels in cities, managed by men and women who are not directly engaged in the business but using desperate girls to achieve their needs (Feng-xia 55). Some of the girls are lured into the city with a promise of a better job and lifestyle, only to find themselves in cartels that promote prostitution. Despite the luxury that comes with living such lifestyles, they find themselves leading empty and miserable lives. Their prospective employers are only interested in their ability to perform and attract more clients. Once such zeal is lost and the girls are unable to function due to their frustrations, they are thrown out, at times sick and helpless, as their employers look for younger and vibrant girls to use.
The play sunrise ended on a sad not, where the two vibrant young girls, Chen and Xiaodongxi committed suicide. The life they lived was just a short sunrise which ended up in a deep darkness for them. This is a reflection of the lifestyle that most of such girls end up in, once the steam of their activities fade. The city has recorded large number of young women, who are living a hopeless life of drug and substance abuse due to the overwhelming situations that they face. They are unable to face the reality of their environment especially after realizing that selling their bodies will not necessarily give them the identity and recognition they need. Most of them look beautiful on the outside yet their inner being is rotting with frustrations. Rehabilitation centers are filled with girls who have stories of how they ended up in a life of crime and drugs. They desire to change their lives, yet they feel they have wasted the better part of their youth.

Works cited

Cao, Yu. Sunrise: a play in four acts. Foreign Languages Press, 1978.
Fei, Faye C. "Dramatizing the West in Chinese spoken drama." Asian Theatre Journal (1998): 102-116.
Feng-xia, W. A. N. G. "A review of the comparative literature study made about CAO Yu's drama in the past 20 years [J]." Journal of Guangzhou University (Social Science Edition) 6 (2006): 015.
He, Chengzhou. "Women and the search for modernity: rethinking modern Chinese drama." Modern Language Quarterly 69.1 (2008): 45-60.
JIN, Hong-yu, and Li-na LU. "Different Editions of Sunrise and Revisions." Journal of Zhanjiang Teachers College 2 (2005): 009.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 14) Good Sunrise Essay Example. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-sunrise-essay-example/
"Good Sunrise Essay Example." WePapers, 14 Dec. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-sunrise-essay-example/. Accessed 28 January 2023.
WePapers. 2020. Good Sunrise Essay Example., viewed January 28 2023, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-sunrise-essay-example/>
WePapers. Good Sunrise Essay Example. [Internet]. December 2020. [Accessed January 28, 2023]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-sunrise-essay-example/
"Good Sunrise Essay Example." WePapers, Dec 14, 2020. Accessed January 28, 2023. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-sunrise-essay-example/
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"Good Sunrise Essay Example," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 14-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-sunrise-essay-example/. [Accessed: 28-Jan-2023].
Good Sunrise Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-sunrise-essay-example/. Published Dec 14, 2020. Accessed January 28, 2023.
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