Chinese Cinderella is a compelling autobiography written by Adeline Yen Mah. Chinese Cinderella is an extraordinary book that shows the reader how cruel we live in. Many wise lessons are woven into each sentence. While reading, the reader connects the book to the world, making the audience realize how cruel society and the world we live in can be.
This novel is based on a child yearning for acceptance and love in a flawed and deliberated family. In the Novel ‘Chinese Cinderella’, Adeline demonstrates one of the most prominent themes in Chinese Cinderella; perseverance. Despite her difficult life throughout the book, Adeline is placed in numerous arduous situations where she is compelled to fend for herself at such a young age. Adeline perseveres through her academics, as discussed in the text
Adeline’s perseverance towards her academics is inextricably demonstrated and discussed throughout the text. Adeline immerses herself in striving for academic achievement in the hope of winning her parents acceptance and love, as the book moves on to Adeline’s later years, the readers get a clearer perspective on how Adeline finds great pleasure in words and does not necessarily need to make herself seen and accepted to her father, but instead, she strives to a better place- university. Adeline perseveres in her academics to prove her worth to her parents, her perseverance is driven for the need of self-worth and acceptance. Although Adeline suffers from constant rejection from her stepmother it may be the indifference from her father that crushes Adeline much more harshly and brutally, she is still able to pursue a life that the reader feels is worth living for. By Adeline indulging herself in academic life and pursuing her own kind of success, Adeline is able to see her single dream amongst a thousand negative horrors.
Her life has been scarred by her merciless treatment from her cruel siblings and inadequate parents.’ They had tossed me aside like a piece of garbage’[p.143] and ‘Everything is ugly. I loathe myself[p.215] are just two examples of how she felt after her parents and had numerous things that emotionally and deeply affected Adeline.
Family is supposed to offer us acceptance and a place to belong, affirmation and guidance –Things that that Adeline lacks with her parents and family. Adeline shows a high level of perseverance from such a young child who has faced such hard difficulties in her life, this perseverance has rooted in her need of acceptance and love. Also, another reason why she perseveres in her academics is that she wants to bring honour to her family name ‘Continue to study hard and bring honour to the Yen family, so we can be proud of you’(p11), this quote relates to the theme of perseverance as well as, pride]. It illustrates the theme of perseverance because Adeline feels the only attention she can receive is when her father feels a sense of pride towards Adeline. Throughout the book Adeline’s academics is discussed predominantly but, there is another aspect to the theme of perseverance that Adeline portrays, the readers also witness Adeline to trying to stay strong against the chaos and war in China at the time.
Adeline, a child that was abused and mistreated for her whole life was abruptly sent away to boarding school in Tianjin, during a time of war and chaos. Her family of course, had left and moved to a new area where the yen family was protected. Adeline was left by herself in a new environment alone, with old clothes and yes, her sadness was evident, but her courage and perseverance to overcome it were definitely unmistakable. Adeline coped surprisingly well for a child of her age and was able to handle the feelings of rejection and unloved like no other child. The key to her strength, courage, and perseverance was her desire and commitment towards her studies caused her to persevere even though at the time her life was a struggle. Academic dreams and goals helped her get through tough times. During her time at a Tianjin boarding school, the readers witness her perseverance at unimaginable levels. During this time at the boarding school, the readers view Adeline becoming self-accepted, near to the end of the book.
Adeline has poor self–esteem throughout the text. Adeline is constantly mad to feel unloved and unwanted. Although the readers witness many feelings of self-doubt from Adeline over her childhood the audience can see a change in the way she views herself by the end of the book . This is exceptionally special because Adeline finally realizes that she so much more than a worthless and unwanted child like her family had set her out to be .but instead we see that Adeline can see herself as an amazing person, a brilliant student and is worth peoples time and love. As a reader, this was very important to see Adeline come into her own skin and view the world out of her own eyes, not the way her parents view things. The readers were able to see this when ye ye and Adeline were having a conversation . ”go out there and compete in the most difficult examinations. Create your own destiny”(p181). This quote strengthens her self-esteem in many ways because ye ye is proking deep thought and telling Adeline that she is worth it . Adeline’s view of herself had changed quite drastically when her grandfather had told her this . Although this quote does relate to the self -esteem her perseverance comes from her lack of self-esteem this has driven her forward as she tries to go out in the world and make her own mark.