Fairy Tales in China

After researching various aspects of Chinese culture, I have decided to focus my research paper on the history of Chinese fairy tales.  As I was looking through different fairy tales, I came across one that is a similar storyline to Cinderella. The tale is called Yeh-Shen and she, similarly to Cinderella,  is left to be raised by her stepmother following the death of her parents. For my research I would like to examine Chinese fairy tales to see if they are formatted in the way that is similar to the stories that I was read as a child. Is there always a woman in distress? Are there messages behind the stories? Also, are there any controversial stories that have been written?



Young and Restless in China

One of the most striking dynamics that was established in the documentary was the living conditions of the lower class citizens and migrant workers. Wei Zhanyan lived in a small one room shelter with enough space for a twin size bed. Despite the special limitations, she explained that she was happy that she had a place of her own. Another individual, Wang Xiaolei, is a struggling rapper who lived in an extremely small home with limited food. He explained how much he hated where he lived and how he wanted to live in a big house one day. There were also various moments in the documentary when they filmed in homes of Chinese farmers. Their homes were poorly structured and very small. These terrible living conditions only show a small percentage of the millions of people who reside in similar situations.

The second dynamic that I found most shocking was the significance of traditional values that are still prevalent in the society. Wei Zhanyan was forced to come home to meet the man that she was being arranged to marry. She explained to the film makers that she did not want to get married. She had only a few hours to speak with this complete stranger and then she had to give her decision if she would agree to marry him. She did agree; however, she cancelled the engagement a few days later. Another traditional value in China is women’s goal to have children. Miranda Hong, a successful business woman in China explained her displeasure with the views on women. She explained her irritation with interviews because she was always asked when she was planning on having children (42:23). She explained that her main goal was to be a successful business woman not to have children at the moment. She put work number one rather than having a child. These women show how traditional values are still greatly dominant in Chinese society.


My name is Brooke Tyrrell and I am a senior at the University of Mary Washington. I am a history major and preparing for my master’s in education. The pictures below represent important areas of my life.

WVIA Clubhouse in the Classroom - Scranton School District

The first, is a picture of a classroom. It has always been my dream to become a teacher. I have observed many incredible teachers throughout my various practicum experiences. They have influenced my thinking and expectations for myself as a teacher. Creating laughter and confidence in my future classroom is my goal.

Nanny Jobs Sydney, Elder Care jobs Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth

The next picture represents my job. I am a nanny of two amazing little boys who are 6 and 10 . They have taught me how to keep a level head and manage miss behaviors.  I have been their nanny for almost a year and now consider them family. They are the little brothers that I never had.

Castries, St Lucia

The final picture is of St. Lucia. Every year my parents and I go on a family vacation. This past summer we went to St. Lucia. I met so many amazing people that I have continued to stay in contact with. I thought about living there and not returning to school for a few days. Unfortunately, I do not have enough money to live on an island for the rest of my life.

“WVIA Clubhouse in the Classroom – Scranton School District”  Flickr – Photo Sharing!, accessed January 12, 2016, https://www.flickr.com/photos/wvia/14267283537/in/photolist.

“Babysitters andmore” Flickr – Photo Sharing!, accessed January 12, 2016, https://www.flickr.com/photos/95832466@N07

Hayes, David. “Castries, St Lucia” Flickr – Photo Sharing!, accessed January 12, 2016, https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidhayes/9863368573/in/photolist


I went in to talk to Professor Fernsebner about my project. I had some concerns about how to consolidate all of the research that I had done. She helped me decided on three main topics to discuss in my paper. I also found a few more sources for my research. One of the articles that I found will be the focus of my discussion on why my topic is important to study. I feel much better about my research and topic now that I have a clear outline.



Starting a research paper is always intimidating. It is difficult to figure out the keywords of a topic that will be the most helpful in filing through books on the library website.  The moment that “no results were found” pops up, panic and frustration instantly occur. On the other hand, topics that have been extensively researched, with a great deal of sources that are available, can  be equally frustrating. At this point, trying to decide which of the sources are most valuable becomes overwhelming.  Hours are spent skimming table of contents and introductions.

When it comes time to write the paper, I usually stare at the blank Word document for several minutes. It is hard to figure out where to start when there are so many pages to fill. This is about the time that I convince myself that I need to take a break. When I start again, I look back at my seemingly endless pages of notes from various sources. At certain points, research papers seem impossible to finish.


Primary Source: Men Lift Luxury Market

There have been many primary sources focusing on China’s new middle class. One of the most significant that I have found are Commercials targeting these individuals. The new middle class tends to spend more money on luxury goods than they do on saving.

Rather than analyzing another Commercial, I began searching through China Digital Times to find a recent article. The article,  “Let’s Hear It For the Boys: Men Lift Luxury Market,” by Melissa M. Chan is an extremely beneficial source for my project. The article itself is very detailed; however, for this blog post I am going to focus specifically on the report that was provided in the article. The report focused on the drastic increase in spending by men in China.  A reporter interviewed the head of retail, David Martin,  at a mall in Hong Kong.  He said that, “men are buying in all segments, fashion, accessories, and watches especially.”  This is helpful for my research because of the change in spending by men on name brands and expensive accessories, unlike previous years.The report also included percentages of spending by men in China. Specifically, that Men make up half of those spending in the luxury goods market in China.

The strengths of this interview is that it provides percentages of the growth that the men had in the luxury departments. The report interviews both the  head of retail and a retail analyst.  Luxury goods maker,  Burberry, also provided details of the increase in sales by men. Although there are many beneficial aspect of this report, there are issues that I  found. First, I wish that they would have interviewed an actual shopper at the mall. The men that they were talking about did not give their ideas about the situations. Also, the perspective was very biased because they did not interview any personal store owners or workers. I think the sources could have been stronger had they chosen to interview more than the select few individuals.

Overall, I think that this source will be beneficial for  my research because men are becoming more prevalent in spending on luxury goods. With the new middle class evolving, luxury goods are becoming the most desired goods. This interview will help support my argument that the new middle class is influencing the economy in China.


Melissa, Chan. “Let’s Hear It For the Boys: Men Lift Luxury Market.” China Digital Times. January 29, 2013.  http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2013/01/lets-hear-it-for-the-boys-chinas-men-lift-luxury-market/

Project Update: Chinese “Yuppies”


I have decided to do my research paper on a new class that is very prevalent in China today. China’s new wealthy class is made up of young technologically and fashion forward individuals. This class has many nicknames such as yuppies or chuppies (Chinese yuppies). They are more than willing to spend money on consumer goods. I want to examine how much money these individuals spend annually and on what general goods they purchase. A recent finding that I have discovered is LiAnne Yu’s, Consumption in China: How China’s New Consumer Ideology is Shaping the Nation. UMW gives online access to this book which analyzes the new generation of middle class in China. I have found a lot of documents examining this topic, I just have to spend time evaluating which are the most valuable. I am building my bibliography slowly by using a number of different source material. I have found a good number of articles that have been published looking at the change in the middle class. I am really interested to see how influential these individuals are on the  U.S. companies that are in China.

Daddy goes to work, we go to school


The reason that I chose this image was because of the differences in portrayal of the male and female dynamic. The designer,Wei Yingzhou (魏瀛洲),  created this poster in October of 1954. The slogan, “Daddy goes to work, we go to school” makes the poster seem as though the focus is on the children. However, when I look at this image I see the mother taking care of her 5 children. Women were put in the maternal role in the majority of posters. In many posters during this time  women were shown in feminine  roles such as motherly figures.

This poster has many dynamics. What I notice most was the extreme happiness on everyone’s face. The mother was very happy to be with her children. The second most notable aspect was the younger girls pride in their looks. One girl is staring at her nails as the other is fixing her outfit in the mirror. This suggests that girls should be concerned with their appearances. As the girls focus on their looks, the boy is in the background waving to his father. It is important to note that the female characters are in the front and the male characters are in the background. By focusing on the background we can see that the young boy is mirroring his father. Both of their hands are out almost symbolizing that one day he will grow up to be just like his father. Overall, the poster uses light colors to make the room seem bright leaving the observer with a sense of happiness.

Yingzhou, Wei. “Daddy goes to work, we go to school.” (October:1954). http://chineseposters.net/posters/pc-1954-005.php